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New 'Phone First' service being introduced next week to take pressure off Altnagelvin's emergency department

People asked to call ahead to allow medical professionals to decide on best course of treatment

Altnagelvin A&E

The new 'Phone First' service starts on Monday.

A new ‘Phone First’ service is being rolled out to cover the emergency department at Altnagelvin Hospital.

The service will start operating from 8am on Monday, January 25.

It will operate from 8am to 12 midnight seven days per week

Phone First is designed for patients, including children, who are feeling unwell and considering travelling to the emergency department or Minor Injuries Unit with an injury or illness which requires urgent treatment but is not immediately life-threatening.

When you call the Phone First service your condition, or that of the person you are calling on behalf of, will be clinically assessed and arrangements made for you to access the most appropriate service to your needs.

At present units in the Western Trust are only offering booked appointments for minor injuries in adults.

You may receive telephone advice on minor illness via the Phone First service or be directed to see your GP or to attend the emergency department.

The ‘Phone First’ number to ring is 0300 020 6000

The ‘Phone First’ text relay number is 0870 240 5152.

A Western Trust spokesperson said: "For all emergencies that are life threatening always call 999 immediately.

"This can include: Stroke, heart attack, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding or major trauma.

"It is important to note that Emergency Departments will always be a safe place for patients, and if they attend an ED without ringing first, they will not be turned away.

"If their condition is not life threatening they may have to wait longer or be signposted to another service."

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