Kent and Medway have gone live with a booking solution which enables direct appointment scheduling from NHS 111.

The decision to implement the NHS 111 First Direct Appointment Booking solution was in response to a government strategy aimed at encouraging patients who require urgent and unscheduled care to call NHS 111 in order to be directed to the most appropriate service for treatment.

This may include an appointment in primary care, urgent treatment centre (UTC), same day emergency care (SDEC) or, in extreme cases, the emergency department at the local acute trust.

The NHS Kent & Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local providers have worked with the region’s NHS 111 provider, South-East Costal Ambulance Service (SECAmb) and WASP Software on the project.

Rather than try to implement or upgrade each provider system, the Kent and Medway region chose to work with WASP Software who provide technology that is able to sit in front of each site’s IT service and manage scheduling activity.

As a result of the solution being introduced staff no longer need to check multiple systems just to establish who is due to arrive.

Michael Brett, managing director of  WASP Software, said: “The work we have been doing across Kent and Medway has been driven by the need to provide direct appointment booking into emergency services which have historically been unscheduled.

“Urgent and emergency care by their very nature are unscheduled incidents and so the challenge has been how best to manage the demand on ED during these extraordinary times.”