This blog is simply a direct lift from the NHS site. I knew that the NHS 111 service was being rolled out - but had entirely missed that it had actually happened where I live! I am assuming some of you might also have missed it.
NHS 111 is a new service that's being introduced to make it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare services. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time.
To find out if the service is available where you live expand the 'NHS111 areas' section, below.
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
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.
NHS 111 is now available in the following areas:
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
East of England
Great Yarmouth and Waveney
County Durham and Darlington
Lancashire (excluding West Lancashire)
Isle of Wight
There is more information at that link.
[Updated 15:57 13/03/2013 Added text below re Scotland]
Scotland gets 111
24 January 2013
Scotland's NHS 24 is changing its health advice line phone number to 111.
Its 0845 number will be replaced by 111 in April next year and will be free to call from a landline or mobile.
England is launching a similar service called NHS 111 from April this year, replacing NHS Direct’s 0845 telephone service.