‘Phone First’ service should include allied health professionals, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed the piloting of a ‘Phone First’ system in a number of local emergency departments, but queried whether it may be enhanced further by the involvement of allied health professionals.

The service is designed for patients feeling unwell and considering travelling to an emergency department with an injury or illness which requires urgent treatment but which is not immediately life-threatening. It will launch in the Causeway Hospital from 10am tomorrow and it is envisaged it will be introduced at Craigavon Area and Daisy Hill hospitals in the coming weeks.

“I warmly welcome the piloting of the ‘Phone First’ system and strongly support its swift roll-out beyond Causeway to Craigavon, Daily Hill and ultimately elsewhere,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“This is an essential part of the delivery of transformation where people are essentially triaged immediately before even attending a health facility of any kind.

“However, currently the plans are to divert to minor injuries or general practice where emergency departments are not appropriate. This will potentially remove pressure from one part of the service to another. I would urge the Minister therefore to consider whether the involvement of allied health professionals additionally at this early stage may enhance what promises to be a hugely helpful initiative.”