During periods of inclement weather, emergency department waiting times often rise. Mr Mark Doyle, Waterford Regional Hospital Consultant in Emergency Medicine believes this can be quickly reduced if patients choose the most appropriate setting for their needs
When patients are in distress or discomfort outside of GP hours, many peoples first instinct is to visit their nearest emergency department, unaware of other more suitable services in their vicinity.
Sometimes the Emergency Department is the first place people think of when they need help or medical assistance “but GPs, GP out-of-hours services and many pharmacies will also be providing health services and people should think about which service is the right one for what they need,” said Mr Doyle. Emergency departments should be kept for emergencies only.
OpenApp and the HSE’s Find a Service can be a great help to assist patients and their carers with this task of finding these more appropriate services. Of particular interest to unwell patients out of hours is the directory of ‘GP out of hours’ services and pharmacies, including a link to their opening hours. By utilising the web service, many patients could be saved many hours waiting in an emergency department, thus freeing it for emergency cases.
The application provides the public with a single screen view to all major health services in Ireland. Underlying services are fed to the map via the HSE’s national Service Directory, another OpenApp development.
Full list of services included within the HSE Find a Service:
- GP/ Family doctor
- Dental Practices
- Health Centres
- Nursing Homes
- GP out of hours
Local Health offices are also located via search by address.
Three methods to search:
- Free text search of all health services: i.e. enter your doctors name and contact details will be returned.
- Search by address: Enter your address and most relevant services near by will be returned in a list, with the option of display by map.
- Select your county and filter services you would like retuned on the map.
Irish Medical Times: Patients advised to seek an appropriate setting
This article was published by Fiona Aherne, for more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org