A major Hertfordshire NHS campaign by local clinical commissioning groups, running throughout October, is urging people to call NHS 111 for urgent medical help.

NHS 111 is the single telephone number to get urgent help from a variety of healthcare services. It’s free to call and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Residents who need help quickly but aren’t sure if they need an ambulance can call 111. Last year, NHS 111 Hertfordshire prevented 20,271 unnecessary ambulance call-outs by diverting patients to a service more appropriate for their requirements. This happens through the team of NHS 111 doctors, nurses, palliative nurses, dental nurses and pharmacists assessing people’s symptoms over the phone and helping people access more appropriate support. This could be advice on how to look after yourself, arranging for you to speak to a qualified professional from the team or directing you to the right health service near you, including booking an appointment for you to see a GP in the evenings and at weekends.

Based in Welwyn Garden City and run by Herts Urgent Care (HUC), the NHS 111 call centre provides high quality urgent healthcare to nearly three million patients across the East of England. Last year (2017/18) over 400,000 calls were taken by NHS 111 in Hertfordshire.

Dr Vipul Parbat, Hertfordshire GP and integrated urgent care lead for Hertfordshire, said:
“You can help us help you get the right medical attention by calling NHS 111 if you have an urgent medical need. Last year, just over 43,000 callers to 111 were given advice by our Clinical Advisory Service within the contact centre, which is made up of GPs, nurses, pharmacists, palliative nurses and dental nurses.”

Dr Rafid Aziz, Medical Director at HUC, said:
“The contact centre gives you the advice you need or arranges help from the right person, saving you time and worry. Depending on your health needs, you could speak directly to a doctor, pharmacist, dentist, or palliative care nurse. We can also put you in touch with a mental health professional. If our advisors feel you need to urgently see a GP or nurse, they can arrange an appointment, even overnight or at weekends.

“Where it is appropriate, patients are directly booked to see a GP out of hours, an emergency dentist, referred to A&E or another service including sending an ambulance.”

For more information visit www.nhs.uk/111 #Herts111