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Your spotlight on local services

Health secretary moots ‘talk before you walk’ A&E plan

31/10/2017

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has floated the idea of preventing people attending A&E departments without a referral.

NHS England has denied they have formal plans to test restricting access to emergency departments with a ‘talk before you walk’ policy.

But NHS England national medical director for integrated care Dr Helen Thomas was recorded at a conference by GP magazine Pulse Today saying they ‘may well pilot’ the idea.

Dr Thomas told an Urgent Health UK conference in Birmingham in October: ‘Jeremy Hunt has mentioned to some of my colleagues, maybe we should have a ‘talk before you walk’ and we may well pilot that.’

Thomas said only 20% of walk-in patients called 111 before attending A&E. Of the 80% who did not, she said: ‘Some of them will need ED, but there’s an awful lot that won’t.’

Pulse Today published the recording of Dr Thomas’ comments on its website in October. You can listen to the recording here.

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