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Phone First FAQs

No More Silos: ‘Phone First’

  • What is Phone First?

    The Phone First service is designed for patients who are feeling unwell and considering travelling to an Emergency Department with an injury or illness which requires urgent treatment but is not immediately life threatening.

    It is important to note that Emergency Departments will always be a safe place for patients, and if they attend 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.

    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.

    When you call the ‘Phone First’ service, a health care professional will clinically assess your condition or that of the person you are phoning on behalf of. They will then make arrangements for the most appropriate urgent care service for your needs.

    This may mean arranging an appointment at your local Urgent Care service or Minor Injuries unit, organising rapid tests or assessment, redirecting you to your local GP, GP Out of Hours or providing advice.

     

  • What is the ‘Phone First’ number?

    Belfast HSC Trust

    • Royal Victoria Hospital
    • Mater Hospital

    Phone First Telephone: 028 9615 9444

    This service will operate for adults only, 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays)

    For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing the Interpreter Now app

    South Eastern HSC Trust Area

    • Ulster Hospital
    • Lagan Valley Hospital

    Phone First Telephone: 028 9151 0110

    This service will operate 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays)

    • Downe Hospital

    Phone First Telephone: 028 4483 8091

    This service will operate:

    • 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday
    • 9am – 5pm, Saturday – Sunday

    For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing the Interpreter Now app

    Northern HSC Trust Area

    • Causeway Hospital
    • Antrim Area Hospital
    • Mid Ulster Minor Injuries Unit

    Phone First Telephone: 0300 123 1 123

    This service will operate 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday.

    For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing the Interpreter Now app or the Phone First text relay number 18001 0300 123 1 123

    Southern HSC Trust Area

    • Craigavon Area Hospital
    • Daisy Hill Hospital
    • South Tyrone Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, Dungannon

    Phone First Telephone: 0300 123 3 111

    This service will operate 9am to 9pm from Monday to Friday.

    For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing the Interpreter Now app or the Phone First text relay number 18001 0300 123 3 111

     

    Western HSC Trust Area

    • Altnagelvin Hospital
    • South West Acute Hospital
    • Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex, Urgent Care and Treatment Unit

    Phone First Telephone: 0300 020 6000

    This service will operate 8am to 12 midnight, 7 days per week.

    For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing the Interpreter Now app or the Phone First text relay number 0870 240 5152

     

     

  • When do you phone 999?

    For all emergencies that are life threatening, always call 999 immediately.

    This can include (not exhaustive)

    • Stroke
    • Heart attack
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Breathing difficulties
    • Severe bleeding
    • Major trauma
  • When should I ‘Phone First’?

    If you are unwell or have an illness or injury which requires urgent treatment but is not life threatening and are considering travelling to your local Emergency Departments (EDs) or Minor Injuries Unit, then please ‘Phone First’.

    For all emergences that are life threatening, always ring 999

     

  • What happens if I ring 999?

    There will be no change to the response that is given by dialling 999 if your condition is life threatening.

     

  • Will the person answering my call tell me which hospital / location to go to?

    When you call the ‘Phone First’ service, a health care professional will clinically assess your condition or that of the person you are phoning on behalf of. They will then make arrangements for the most appropriate urgent care service for your needs.

    This may mean providing advice or arranging an appointment at your local ED, organising rapid tests or assessment, redirecting you to your local GP, GP Out of Hours or the nearest Minor Injuries Unit or providing advice.

     

     

  • What if I can’t get through on the phone or have been ringing and holding for a long time, how long will it take for my call to be answered?

    The aim of the Phone First service is to answer 95% of calls within the first minute.

     

  • Are all calls to the ‘Phone First’ number free of charge?

    No, the new Phone First numbers are either Low Call or local area numbers.

    Calls made to a low call 0300 number cost the same as those made to a local area number and are included in many Landline or Mobile call plans such as Free Minutes and Friends and Family bundles.

    0300 numbers within the UK are reserved exclusively for Not-For-Profit organisations, the Public sector and Charities and no revenue is paid to the owner of the number.

     

  • If I turn up at an Emergency Department, will I still be seen?

    Emergency Departments will always be a safe place for patients and if you turn up without ringing first, you will not be turned away.

    However, if your condition is not life threatening, you may have to wait longer or be signposted to another service.

     

  • I’m deaf so how do I make contact?

    You can access the service by downloading the Interpreter Now app onto your mobile phone. Once registered, you can access a remote interpreter at any time, free of charge.

    Interpreter Now app: https://interpreternow.co.uk/hscni

    Alternatively you can contact the Text Relay services as detailed above.

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