A new three digit number - 111 - that will make it easier for patients in Kingston and Richmond to access urgent NHS healthcare was launched this week.
NHS 111 is a new telephone service to help you access local health services. If you live in the London Boroughs of Kingston or Richmond, you can now call 111 when you need medical help fast, but it isn’t a 999 emergency. For less urgent health needs, you should still contact your GP or local pharmacist in the normal way.
NHS 111 is free to call from landlines and mobile phones and is a fast and easy way to get the right help – whatever your need, wherever you are, and whatever the time. NHS 111 is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced clinicians, who will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, give you the healthcare advice you need and direct you to the right local service as quickly as possible. This can include a doctor, walk-in centre or urgent care centre, community nurses, emergency dentist or late-opening chemist.
Launching NHS 111 in Kingston, Dr Vince Grippaudo, Kingston NHS 111 Clinical Lead, said:
“We know that it can be confusing for patients to find the right health service when they need urgent support. The NHS 111 number will make is much easier for patients to quickly get the best treatment for their needs and we’re delighted we can now launch this service for people in Kingston. We’ll be publicising the service with residents over the coming weeks.”
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.
Dr Branko Momic Richmond NHS 111 Clinical Lead, added:
“We are excited to be launching the NHS 111 number which is a fantastic additional NHS service for people living in the borough - it’s free, easy to remember and directs people to the right service quickly when they have an urgent health need. We hope that by introducing the 111 number people will think twice about calling for an ambulance or going to the emergency department of the hospital when it is not an emergency. The new service will make sure callers who dial 111 can access the care and advice that is right for them, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
The line will be staffed round the clock, 365 days a year. Calls from landlines and mobile phones are free – just like 999.
The number can be used when you need help fast but it is not life threatening, or when you do not know who to call.
You should call 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, continue to call 999.