The Department of Health has added a FAQs on its website on the new 111 phone service. This is a recent addition is most probably in response to the confusion as to what is going to happen to NHS Direct – will it stay or will it go! Here is what they say:
“NHS 111 will eventually replace the NHS Direct 0845 4647 telephone number when it is rolled out nationally and will provide a single point of rapid access for all non-emergency healthcare services – this has never been available before but makes real sense.
At any time of day, whether at home, work or visiting a different area, for the first time there will be one number to put patients in touch with the right NHS services if they need help quickly; whether this involves providing health advice, making an out of hours appointment with a GP, or providing information about out of hours services.
Unlike NHS Direct, the number is free to call. NHS 111 is staffed by a team of fully trained call advisers, supported by nurses, who are on hand to assess callers’ needs and ensure they receive the right service as quickly as possible.
NHS 111 call advisers use a state of the art clinical assessment system to assess callers’ individual needs effectively, ensuring they are directed to the right NHS service, first time around, reducing the need for ‘call backs’.