When your child is running a slight temperature, your elderly parent complains of pain, or you have developed a nagging earache, it is quite often when your doctor’s surgery is closed. It may not be a 999 emergency, but you do need to get help or advice fast. What should you do?
You simply need to call 111.
The NHS 111 number is free to call and allows people to access healthcare for any health problem that is not life-threatening. You can ring the 111 number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The NHS in south Essex has recently launched a campaign to encourage people to use the most appropriate NHS service when they become ill.NHS 111 in south Essex has proved to be an excellent service, providing advice on self-management or the location of the nearest service to quickly treat your problem.
When patients dial 111 they are put through to highly trained call handlers, supported by experienced nurses or paramedics.
They will be clinically assessed and either given information or referred directly to the most appropriate service which can deal with their injury or illness. This may range from dentist, pharmacy, community service to out-of-hours GP, or in some cases an ambulance.
Dr Roger Gardiner, GP and lead clinician for NHS 111 in south Essex, said: "We would like to reassure local people that the service in south Essex is working very well and has not encountered the problems described in the national media. We are confident that the local service is robust and able to cope in a timely manner with the demands placed upon it.
“Let me assure patients that 111 is the number to call for urgent or out of hours medical help."
Raising awareness of NHS 111 is a key part of the ‘Get Well Essex’ campaign recently launched by CCGs in Essex. The campaign is supported by a website www.GetWellEssex.com which includes a symptom checker where people can enter their postcode and select their symptom to find the most appropriate local service for their needs.