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Which emergency health service?

posted 14 Oct 2012, 09:01 by Tomo   [ updated 30 Nov 2013, 12:22 ]
There are a variety of emergency health services and even if you know about the choices available, do you know which service is most appropriate for your need? 

Below is a quick guide to the various emergency services and a short explanation.

Most GP surgeries have appointment slots for emergencies during their working times, which are weekdays from 8.30 am to between 6.00 and 6.30 pm, depending on the surgery.
  • There is an “Out Of Hours” GP service for evenings, weekends and bank holidays. Telephone: 111. You might get advice over the phone, or an appointment with a GP or nurse at the “Out Of Hours” primary care centre adjacent to the A&E department at Watford hospital, or they might arrange a home visit by a GP.
  • At Mount Vernon hospital, there is a nurse led Minor Injuries Unit.  This is open from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm, seven days a week. “Minor injuries” include fractured arms below the shoulder and legs below the knee, cuts and burns. Waiting times are usually much shorter than at the A&E department (see below) and following treatment they arrange a follow up consultation at, for instance, the fracture clinic at Watford hospital.
  • At Hemel Hempstead hospital there is a GP led, Urgent Care Centre. It is open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Most injuries and illnesses that are not life threatening can be treated here.
  • For serious and life threatening accidents and illnesses, there is the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at Watford hospital. This is open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Demand at the A&E department is often high, and there can be long waits, depending on the seriousness of the condition presented.
  • For life threatening emergencies there is the 999 telephone service, which will probably call out an ambulance and/or paramedic team for you.
  • Finally for non-life threatening emergencies, the new 111 telephone service has been successfully launched in Hertfordshire. It will replace the NHS Direct telephone service. In Hertfordshire the 24 hour non-urgent 111 service is run by the same organisation that runs the out of hours GP service.
Henry Goldberg
October 2012

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