Calling NHS to become quicker

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A NEW telephone service for non-emergency health issues has been launched in the High Peak – replacing the existing NHS Direct number.

NHS 111, which has been launched this week, is the new number to call for local health services when your health issue is less urgent than 999.

When patients call 111, they will be assessed, given advice and directed straightaway to the local service that can help them best - whether that’s an out-of-hours doctor, a walk-in centre, a community nurse, an emergency dentist or a late opening chemist.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls from landlines and mobile phones are free.

Jackie Pendleton of the North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted to be piloting the 111 number for patients in the High Peak.

“It is essential that we improve access to, and understanding about, urgent care services.

“So putting in place one, easily memorable 111 number for all urgent enquiries to run alongside the emergency 999 number will help simplify NHS services for patients.

“The aim is to deal with a patient in a single call with no call backs.

“Another requirement of a 111 service is that emergency calls will be transferred to the ambulance service with no delay to the caller. Access to GP surgeries will remain unchanged via their surgery number.”

The NHS 111 service call handling is being provided by Derbyshire Health United, who already provide out-of-hours services for the county.

All of Derbyshire will be covered by NHS 111 by late summer.