A new Urgent Care Centre has opened at Forth Valley Royal Hospital to support national changes to the way people access A&E services across Scotland.
This new approach aims to help people get the right care in the right place and ensure the Emergency Department is able to provide safe and effective care to people when they really need it.
Under the new national arrangements anyone with a non-life-threatening condition who would usually go to A&E is being asked to call NHS 24 on 111 day or night. NHS 24 will assess people by telephone and, where appropriate, refer them the Urgent Care Centre. This new facility, which is staffed by experienced local doctors and nurses, brings a number of existing services within the hospital, including minor injuries, GP Out-of-Hours services and assessment services, together in one location to provide comprehensive advice, support and treatment for a wide range of urgent healthcare issues.
Local clinical staff based in the Urgent Care Centre will be able to arrange a telephone or video consultation to help keep people safe and avoid any unnecessary trips to hospital. If a face-to-face consultation is necessary, staff will be able to arrange an appointment for people to be seen in the Urgent Care Centre or another local facility to reduce the length of time patients need to wait to be seen and help avoid overcrowding in communal waiting areas.
There are no changes to the arrangements for emergency healthcare care and people should continue to call 999 or go direct to Forth Valley Royal Hospital for emergencies. People can continue to call their local GP practice, dentist or optometrist between 8am to 6pm for advice on a wide range of illnesses and injuries as well as routine checks and treatments. Local pharmacies can also offer expert advice and offer free treatment for many common health conditions without the need for a prescription as part of the national Pharmacy First service.
When your GP surgery or dentist is closed people can call 111 where NHS 24 will direct them to the most appropriate healthcare service, depending on their individual needs. People can also access help online at any time from www.nhsinform.scot.
Dr Dan Beckett, NHS Forth Valley Consultant Physician and Clinical Lead for the new Urgent Care Centre, said: “The development of our new Urgent Care Centre will help ensure local people across Forth Valley can quickly access clinical advice and support without having to attend the Emergency Department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
“In many cases we will be able to provide this over the phone or via a video consultation but if we do need to see people we can arrange an appointment for them to attend Urgent Care Centre or another local healthcare facility which will mean they won’t have to wait long period to be seen.
“Giving people staggered appointment times also avoids lots of people turning up at the same time and stops our waiting and treatment areas from becoming overcrowded. This means we can help reduce the risk of infection, help keep patients and staff as safe as possible during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and, in some cases, help avoid the need to attend or be admitted to hospital.”