Make the Right Call: 111 - the three little numbers that could make a big different when you need urgent health advice
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Health advice and urgent healthcare information is available to people in Suffolk at any hour.
Unless it is an emergency, people are advised to call NHS 111 to speak to a health advisor based in the county.
The highly-trained advisors, who work alongside clinical advisors, assess the caller’s symptoms, give them the right advice and direct them to the right local service that suits that patient’s needs.
NHS 111 is a national programme which is provided by different organisations across the country.
In Suffolk the service is commissioned by the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and provided by Care UK, one of the country’s largest independent providers of health and social care. Care UK also provides across Suffolk the GP out-of-hours service, one of the services people calling NHS 111 may be directed to.
Yee Lee Wright, Care UK’s regional director for urgent care, said: “Suffolk has a robust NHS 111 service in place and we have received a significant amount of positive feedback from patients.
“Our monthly patient surveys show a very high level of satisfaction with the service and, interestingly, show more than half of those who called NHS 111 would have contacted 999 or A&E had the service not been available.
“This suggests NHS 111 is helping relieve pressure on the emergency services.”
The NHS 111 number is not for life-threatening emergencies – people should still dial 999 in that situation.
If you are uncertain where you need to be seen call 111 where prompt guidance will be given.
The service is invaluable if you have symptoms which you are unsure about; if you are feeling unwell or are concerned about a relative or friend. NHS 111 health advisors can also help if you are not sure whether to visit your GP or get some over the counter medicine from the pharmacy.
The new NHS 111 service is also available to help locate services for a number of other health conditions.
For example you might want to find your nearest dental practice or maybe you need to find a pharmacy, which has late night opening.
In its first year of operation in Suffolk, the NHS 111 service took more than 150,000 calls from Suffolk residents.