NHS 111 is the new three-digit telephone service that’s being introduced to improve access to NHS urgent care services. Patients can use this number when they need medical help or advice and it’s not urgent enough to call 999. NHS 111 operates 24/7, 365 days per year and is free to use from a landline and a mobile.
When to use it
You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation. Call 111 if:
- You need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency
- You think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
- You don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call
- You need health information or reassurance about what to do next
For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way. If a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition, continue to use that number. For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.
How does it work?
The NHS 111 service is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses. They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you straightaway to the local service that can help you best. That could be A&E, an out-of-hours doctor, an urgent care centre or a walk-in centre, a community nurse, an emergency dentist or a late-opening chemist.
Where possible, the NHS 111 team will 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 created are maintained securely, and will only be shared with others directly involved with your care.