Long waiting time at A&E? There's an app to find that

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Media caption'Live wait' is designed to relieve pressure on busy A&E departments, reports Matthew Richards

People going to accident and emergency and minor injuries units at north Wales hospitals will be able to see how many others are waiting thanks to a new app.

The app was developed with North Midlands NHS Trust, and gives current waiting times for non-urgent treatment, opening times, directions and contacts.

Developers said it would help people choose the best place to get help.

North Wales is the first area to join in with the development after its initial launch in Staffordshire.

Liz Rix is chief nurse at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, where the app was pioneered.

She said: "This is an innovative way of helping the public choose which health provider best suits their needs, whether that's an A&E or a local minor injuries unit.

"It's often the case that patients with minor conditions can be treated without the need to visit an acute hospital.

'Great way'

"The app gives real-time information on waiting times and show how busy the departments are at any time during the day. This is about empowering patients to make the most appropriate choice for them."

Nigel Lee, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board's director of secondary care, said: "With the winter upon us we know that our emergency departments are going to be incredibly busy over the next three months, dealing with many people who are seriously ill. This can mean that people whose conditions are not urgent can face long waits to be seen.

"But the NHS in Wales offers many ways to get healthcare quickly - local pharmacists are qualified health professionals who can advise on treatments for many common illnesses using simple 'over-the-counter' remedies, while our minor injuries units are a way for people who have suffered less-serious injuries to get the care they need.

"This app is a great way for people who have been injured to work out where is the best place to go to get seen with a minimum of delay."

The app is called Live Wait Times and is available on Apple and Android platforms.

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