It's not a 999 emergency. But you need medical help fast? There is now a 111 number to call.
What is 111?
It is a new NHS telephone number being introduced to help make it easier for you to access local health services. You can now call 111 when you need medical help fast, but it is not a 999 emergency.
You will be assessed, given advice and directed straightaway to the local service that can help you best. That could be A&E, an Urgent Care Centre or Minor Injuries Unit, an out of hours GP, community nurse, emergency dentist or a late opening pharmacist.
You can ring the 111 number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Calls from landlines and mobile phones are free.
There is a typetalk service (18001 111) for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Why should I use it?
NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help - wherever you are, and whatever the time.
It can also help us free up 999 and local A&E departments so that they can focus on emergency cases.
How does it work?
111 will get you through to a team of highly trained advisers, who are supported by experienced nurses. They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, and give you the health care advice you need or direct you to the right local service. The NHS 111 team will, where possible, book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to.
If NHS 111 advisers think you need an ambulance, they will immediately arrange for one to be sent to you.
Calls to 111 are recorded. All calls and the records we create are maintained securely, and will only be shared with others directly involved in your care.
When do I use it?
You should use the NHS 111 service if:
- You need medical help fast, but it is not a 999 emergency.
- You think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service.
- You don't know who to call for medical help or you don't have a GP to call; or
- You require health information or reassurance about what to do next.
For less urgent health needs, you should still contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.
If a health professional has given you a specific number to call when you are concerned about your condition, please continue to use that number.
For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.
For more information please visit www.nhs.uk/111