A virtual accident and emergency system has proven to ease pressures across health services in the city.

Almost half the patients who used the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde’s Flow Navigation Centre were discharged from home, as 44.5% of users received appropriate care that let them avoid attending the A&E department in person.

The new findings are a result of 2,474 patients taking part in virtual consultations in June 2023.

They also showed a further 39% were scheduled to attend their local minor injuries unit but only 15.5% were directed to the emergency department, ultimately reducing the number of people physically presenting at A&E departments.

The system has been in place since December 2020 and has been an essential service in transforming unplanned patient care.

If you think you need to visit A&E, but it’s not life-threatening, and you can’t speak to a GP, you can access the Flow Navigation Centre by calling NHS 24 on 111.

If the NHS24 triage team thinks you could benefit from a virtual A&E appointment, you will be referred on directly.

If you would be more suited to a different type of treatment, they may provide more appropriate advice for your needs.

Patients that utilise the service will have a video consultation with an advanced nurse practitioner or member of medical staff, who will listen to them and support them to find the best possible outcome for their care.

Fiona Band, Flow Navigation Centre General Manager, said: “The Flow Navigation Centre aims to provide patients with urgent care closer to home, using video or telephone call to support patients with alternatives to attending the emergency department.

“Although the Flow Navigation Centre is a relatively new way of treating patients and delivering healthcare, we continue to receive positive feedback from patients who have used the service.

“This service means that patients can have an appointment with a member of the clinical team from the comfort of their own home, which may save them a trip to A&E and help to relieve pressure on our busy hospital departments.”

The FNC team continues to grow, and they currently have an exciting opportunity for new Advanced Nurse Practitioners to join the team.

Fiona added: “We have a great team that work from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and are looking to add to our professional ANPs.

“If you are an ANP with an emergency care, minor injuries, acute medicine or primary care background and are looking for a new challenge or have the transferable skills to be a trainee advanced practitioner, we want to hear from you!”