‘Clever digital system’ will allow Havering patients to be assessed online before attending A&E

medical doctor comforting senior patient

medical doctor comforting senior patient - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Havering has been chosen for a new ‘vanguard’ programme in which patients will be assessed online before going to A&E.

Clinicial commissioners announced plans for the Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge System Resilience Group today (Friday), which they say will bring together GPs, hospitals, community services and councils from across the three boroughs.

Instead of going straight to A&E, GPs, out-of-hours services, pharmacists or other services, patients will be able to log onto an online system which will recognise them and give three options of Click, Call or Come In.

The vanguard is one of eight across the country chosen to spearhead the initiative, aiming to create a “simplified, streamlined urgent care system delivering intelligent, responsive urgent care”.

Dr Atul Aggarwal, chairman of Havering CCG, said: “We have to do things differently – people are confused about where to go in an emergency or when they need urgent care or advice, and it’s no wonder, with A&Es, walk-in centres, urgent care centres, GPs, pharmacists, GP ‘hubs’, out-of-hours.

“In future, people will have just three choices – all supported by a clever digital system that will recognise them and tailor the help they get as soon as they contact us.

“They will go online for support and information to ‘self-care’ with more confidence and book urgent appointments direct if needed. They will phone our customer service centre if they need more in depth advice or reassurance from a clinician, or if it’s a real emergency or they need hospital tests, they will come to the hospital. We call the three options: ‘Click’, ‘Call’ or ‘Come in’.”

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Redbridge GP Dr Ed Diggines said: “It’s an ambitious plan. We’ve made that very clear - and we can only do this because we already have a way of working here between NHS and social care organisations with a proven track record of great success.

“We’ll need to make the most of that desire to pull together to make this work, and we’ll need to work on the detail with help and input from patients and staff, but we’re determined to improve things for patients.”

“Becoming a ‘Vanguard’ is important because it means we have the support and backing for our plan from the very top to make the changes we need,” says Dr Aggarwal.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: “Patients want an easy, seamless service, and this plan will help us to provide that. Urgent and emergency care delivery is all about partnerships, and I’m proud that we have developed such strong working relationships for the people that we serve.”

What do you think of the plans?