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Views And Reviews Primary Colour

Helen Salisbury: Plan your emergency

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 22 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3612
  1. Helen Salisbury, GP
  1. Oxford
  1. helen.salisbury{at}
    Follow Helen on Twitter: @HelenRSalisbury

When I first read about plans to ask patients to book ahead at emergency departments, I assumed it was a joke: “Hello, 111—I’m thinking of breaking my arm next Tuesday. Can I book an appointment for 2 45 pm?”

But it’s far from a joke. Patients who need to visit the emergency department will be encouraged to phone NHS 111, and the service will advise them when to go.1 Patients may also be advised to self-care or be given an appointment with their GP instead. As ridiculous as it sounds, the idea comes from a genuine attempt to reduce crowding in emergency …

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