New Health Secretary meets frontline staff

Thousands of patients treated through virtual A&E service.

New Health Secretary Neil Gray visited Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to meet staff working to ensure patients get access to the right treatment as quickly as possible.

In his first visit as Health Secretary, Mr Gray met frontline staff in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Flow Navigation Centre (FNC) – a virtual A&E service which directs people to the most appropriate care and helps patient flow throughout hospital wards.

Figures published by NHS GGC show that of the 20,000 calls put through the virtual service last year, only 16% actually required referral to a physical A&E. The remainder were given appointments at minor injuries units, referred to other services or given advice that meant they did not need to attend hospital. Mr Gray also visited the hospital’s Major Trauma unit, one of four such units throughout Scotland.

Mr Gray said:

“I was pleased to meet staff working in the Flow Navigation Centre and see first-hand how work is progressing with the hospital’s virtual A&E. The service plays a crucial role in directing people to the most appropriate care and is just one of the ways the NHS is modernising to meet the needs of the people of Scotland.

“By preventing unnecessary physical A&E attendances, patients can be better dealt with by other parts of the health service. This incredible work from the team at Glasgow is helping to reduce pressure on the front door of the emergency department, while ensuring people get the right treatment at the right time.

“I am clear that we need to see reform and innovation right across the health service and NHS GGC’s FNC is a perfect example of how we can improve productivity and also improve patient outcomes. Optimisation of Flow Navigation Centres is a key part of our Urgent and Unscheduled Care Programme which aims to improve patient flow and reduce A&E delays.”

Dr Scott Davidson, Deputy Medical Director for Acute Services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said:

“The virtual A&E is one of a number of virtual pathways which are helping our patients get seen and treated faster.

“While pressure on our hospital sites remains at an all-time high, enabling thousands of patients to be treated away from physical A&E departments has made a significant impact on the front-door at our hospitals and will continue to play a crucial role in the way we deliver healthcare going forward.

“We’d urge any patient who thinks they need to come to A&E to consider using this service, among other urgent care provisions such as pharmacies, GPs, and the NHS Inform website.”


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