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Emergency and urgent care services

NHS 111 service

Call 111 when it's less urgent than 999

NHS 111 is a new service that's being introduced to make it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare services in England. 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.

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 and paramedics. 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.

Typetalk or textphone

If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can use the NHS 111 service through a textphone by calling 18001 111.

Calls are connected to the TextDirect system and the textphone will display messages to tell you what is happening. A typetalk relay assistant will automatically join the call. They will talk back what you've typed to the NHS 111 adviser and, in return, type back the adviser’s conversation, so you can read it on your textphone's display or computer.

Translation service

There is also a confidential interpreter service, which is available in many languages. Simply mention the language you wish to use when the NHS 111 operator answers your call.

Feedback

Your feedback is vital in helping the NHS 111 service to improve and we want to hear your views, good or bad. NHS 111 is commissioned locally by the NHS and there are several providers that deliver the service in each area.

Each locally commissioned NHS 111 service has set up channels for you to provide feedback directly to them. Please check your local NHS websites for details.

Page last reviewed: 01/03/2013

Next review due: 01/03/2015

NHS 111 coverage

NHS 111 is available across the whole of England making it easier for you to access urgent healthcare services when you need medical help fast.

Out-of-office hours

Find out what to do if you need to see your GP outside normal office hours

Responding to an emergency

Get advice on first aid and when to dial 999, including what information to pass on to the emergency response units