Tuesday, September 3, 2013
New three-digit dial telephone service now available for patients to access local health services when they have an urgent need
Devon switched on its new NHS 111 service today (Tuesday, September 3).
The new three-digit dial telephone helpline has been introduced to make it easier for patients to access local health services, when they have an urgent need.
The Devon NHS 111 service is commissioned by Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG), including Torbay. It is being provided by South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASFT) over five years.
NHS 111 is available 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year. Calls from landlines and mobile phones are free. When patients call 111 they will be assessed by trained call handlers who are supported by clinicians. They provide healthcare advice and direct people to the relevant local service that can help them – that could be an out-of-hours doctor, walk-in centre, community nurse, emergency dentist or late opening chemist. If an emergency ambulance is required then this will be arranged automatically.
The new NHS 111 service aims to improve public access to healthcare services and drive improvements in the way the NHS delivers care – ensuring people get their urgent care needs met in the right place at the right time.
NHS 111 has the potential to influence patient’s behaviour by offering excellent advice and information about the options open to them.
Dr Simon Scott-Hayward, GP clinical lead for Devon’s NHS 111 service said: “NHS 111 can help patients to navigate their way through the myriad of NHS services that are out there. It is easy and free to access and will point patients to the best place to meet their urgent health needs.”
Dr Andy Smith, Medical Director for SWASFT said: “We have been running the service in Dorset for nearly six months and will be bringing that experience and expertise to the Devon service. We have a local base in Exeter with local staff and all the local knowledge that comes from managing our successful ambulance service in the county too.”
The out of hours GP calls that are currently managed by Devon Doctors will be gradually migrated over to 111 between October 2013 and April next year. NHS Direct will end its operations in September shortly after 111 goes live and patients ringing NHS Direct will be asked to redial 111 instead.