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Non-emergency 111 number launched

Thu 23 Sep, 2010 // Firstnumber Team

In a bid to ease the strain on emergency services, the NHS are rolling out a three-digit number as an alternative to 999.

For those in need of non-emergency medical advice, treatment or information, the new service will provide just that and, if successful, will be rolled out nationwide.

With estimations suggesting that around 50% of 999 calls do not require an emergency response, it is hoped the service will aid people's understanding of what constitutes an emergency medical situation.

Speaking to the BBC about the new 111 number, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

“At present, too many people are confused about who to contact and how to do so.

“By putting on place one, easily memorable 111 number for all urgent enquiries to run alongside the emergency 999 number we will simplify NHS services for patients.”

A similar service already operates with great success in Scotland.

NHS 24 is a telephone and online based service that offers advice and help for those with health concerns and queries.

Upon dialling 08454 242424, callers are put through to a trained advisor who helps assess the severity of the condition before putting the individual through to a nurse, booking an appointment or calling an ambulance if necessary.

Currently the technology behind NHS 24 is contracted to BT who are able to sync electronic patient records with phone calls for speedier diagnosis.

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