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NHS 111 now available in Somerset

Postedon 10th May, 2013 in News

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The new health helpline to call when it’s less urgent than 999

A new three digit telephone number – 111 – is now available to people in Somerset to call if have an urgent need for medical advice or care but it is not a 999 emergency.

NHS 111 is free helpline to call from landlines and mobile phones.  It’s fast and easy way to get the right help – whatever your health need, wherever you are, and whatever the time.

The new service is staffed by a team of fully trained call advisers and supported by experienced clinicians.  They will ask you some questions in order to understand your symptoms and give you the healthcare advice you need and direct you to the right local service as quickly as possible.

Advice might include seeing a doctor, attending a walk-in or urgent care centre, having a visit from a community nurses, visiting an emergency dentist or going to late-opening chemist.

Commenting upon the new NHS 111 service in Somerset, Dr Ed Ford a GP from Minehead, and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s NHS 111 lead, said:   “We know that it can be confusing for patients to find the right health service when they need urgent medical support. 111 is the number to call if you become ill after your GP surgery has closed or at weekends and Bank Holidays.  It can also be called if you don’t know what health service you need for your level of ill health or ailment.  The number is easy to remember and free to call.

“We want the people in Somerset to understand that they can help themselves and the NHS by calling 111 and avoiding unnecessary delay or the inconvenience of going to a district hospital Accident and Emergency Departments with only minor illness or ailments.  NHS 111 should be your first port of call if it’s not an emergency but you need medical help fast.

“When you call 111, you will be assessed straight away.  If it is an emergency, an ambulance will be despatched immediately without the need for any further assessment.  For any other health problems, the NHS 111 call advisers will be able to direct you to the service that is best able to meet your needs. For minor illnesses and injuries, the 111 service will be able to provide immediate medical advice.

You should call NHS 111 if:

• it’s not a 999 emergency
• you think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service
• you don’t think it can wait for an appointment with your GP, or
• you don’t know who to call for medical help

For more routine health needs, you should still contact your GP or dentist in the usual way, and for immediate, life-threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, unconsciousness or severe blood loss always call 999 for an ambulance.

NHS Direct has an online symptom checker which can help signpost the public to the right support for common illness or ailments. To check your symptoms go to:  

http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/checksymptoms

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