In a UK first, NHS Lincolnshire launched two digital methods for patients to be able to receive appropriate urgent care for their problems.
You can now text to find out waiting times in hospitals and walk-in clinics around your postcode, and download a desktop client to find the right treatment in the city for your health-related queries.
The digital solutions were developed by NHS Choices, DirectGov and Business Link, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), and NHS Lincolnshire.
The SMS system is free and easy to use. Just text the word WAITING to 64746, and you will receive the approximate waiting times for A&E departments at Lincoln County Hospital and the Lincoln walk-in centre on Monks Road, as well as other hospitals in the county.
The desktop client by NHS Lincolnshire and NHS Choices is a free widget which provides guidance about where to get the right treatment depending on the health problem.
You can also find a hospital, GP, dentist and other useful medical services in your area, and see the A&E waiting times list.
Download the widget from here.
Peter Buckley, Emergency Care Programme Director for ULHT, is urging people to make use of the two new digital services.
“As the numbers of patients attending our A&E departments continues to rise, caring for the clinically most needy and vulnerable patients is a priority.
“We hope that when patients use the waiting text alert and dashboard they can and will make more informed decisions about whether alternative care, of similar high quality, that is available throughout Lincolnshire might well be a better choice for them.
“This will free up the time of our clinical staff to concentrate on those that really need the services of an A&E department,” Buckley said.
“NHS Choices already provides wide-ranging and trusted information to help individuals make the right choices about their health and care,” added Gary Ashby, the NHS Choices Programme Director.
“Working with the NHS in Lincolnshire on using real-time data and alternatives is the next step in empowering individuals not only to make the right choices for themselves and their families, but also reduces the burden on essential NHS services.”