AQW 18911/17-22 – GP referrals to Emergency Departments

Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Health to detail the protocols for GP referrals to Emergency Departments. [Priority Written]

Minister of Health: At an individual patient level, GPs use their clinical judgement to determine if it appropriate to transfer a patient to an Emergency Department. This decision is made after assessment by phone or face to face consultation and depends on the specific medical issue rather than the application of a specific protocol.

At a strategic level, work is underway to introduce some ‘scheduling’ of unscheduled care, and to try and ensure that patients get the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time.

GPs are also playing a key role in development and implementation of the new models of care and pathways required to deliver the 10 Key Actions in the COVID-19 Urgent & Emergency Care Action Plan ‘No More Silos’.

The Action Plan is enabling a number of patients planning to attend an Emergency Department to be directed to other more appropriate services. It is also assisting those who have an injury or illness that requires urgent treatment to be assessed over the phone by a health professional and an appointment booked with the appropriate service.

These new models of care will enable patients to access assessment, advice and information when they need it, and receive care in the most appropriate setting.