Slots at accident and emergency are being pre-booked by patients at Croydon University Hospital.
The hospital is part of a pilot where patients can book an appointment at A&E, urgent treatment centre, local pharmacies or a GP by calling 111.
Matthew Kershaw, chief executive of the Croydon Health Services Trust, said that doing so is now an option, but patients can still turn up at the A&E department.
He updated a meeting on the South West London Joint Health Committee on Wednesday night (November 12).
“We are doing this because we are a very busy department we see in excess of 300 patients a day and based on analysis last year about 50,000 patients were seen for minor issues that could have been treated elsewhere,” said Mr Kershaw.
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“We think as an option for patients, who need urgent treatment but do not have life-threatening conditions, to book into a streamed appointment has value.”
He added that during the coronavirus pandemic it has the added benefit of fewer people in the waiting room, reducing the risk of potential transmission.
The NHS 111 programme is set to be rolled out across the capital with patients asked to call the number before heading to A&E.
Croydon was in the first wave of participants, joining the programme on September 25.
At the end of October, St Helier, Kingston and St George’s hospitals all joined the programme too.
Mr Kershaw added it will take up to six months to get a ‘true sense’ of the impact it has had in Croydon.
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