A smartphone app designed to cut waiting times at accident and emergency departments in east Kent and launched by the NHS in December has been used more than 20 thousand times.
The WaitLess app combines current waiting times at all urgent care centres – drawn from the official NHS system – with up-to-the-minute travel information, to help people decide which urgent care centre to head to for faster treatment for minor injuries.
Dr John Ribchester, Clinical Lead for the Encompass project which devised and commissioned the app, came up with the idea after seeing a similar app in use in Valencia, Spain, and realised that by using a combination of waiting times and travel times they could direct people to the best place for faster treatment. He said: “When people sustain an injury, such as a cut that needs stitching or a nasty sprain, they often simply head to the nearest A&E department. What many people don’t realise is that a lot of minor injuries can be dealt with at several places in east Kent, not just our major hospitals. WaitLess can direct people with not so serious conditions to alternative sites where they can be treated faster, which in turn will help to reduce the pressure on our A&E departments.
“This is the first app of this kind in the UK – other apps use waiting time information but this is the first to combine with travel times, which as we know can be unpredictable in Kent. We are delighted to introduce this app to east Kent and we very much hope to be able to extend the service to other areas soon.”
The WaitLess app is free to download from iTunes and Google Play.
Notes to editors:
- The Waitless app has been developed by Transforming Systems and funded by the Encompass programme, a group of 13 medical practices in Whitstable, Faversham, Canterbury, Ash and Sandwich, part of the NHS Vanguard project.
- The aim of Encompass is to make sure health and social care is integrated and based around local needs so that patients can receive more of their treatment in their communities, rather than having to travel to hospital.
View the promotional video here