NHS 111

111 Logo White

NHS 111 is a free-to-call, non-emergency medical helpline, available for urgent health care assessment. If you are unsure which health care service you need to visit, the NHS 111 service will signpost you to the most appropriate care for your condition, which could be your GP, local pharmacy or walk-in centre. It could also be the emergency department or an emergency ambulance if required.

Available 24 hours a day, the NHS 111 service is intended for urgent but not life-threatening health issues.

If you do not need to be seen by a healthcare professional, self-care at home advice will be given by one of our clinically trained advisors.

If you are in need of emergency care, we will transfer your call to the ambulance operations centre where an ambulance will be sent to you, if required, in accordance with the severity of the condition.

What happens when you call NHS 111?

When you call 111 one of our specially trained health advisors will take you through a series of questions.  We will firstly ask you your name, address and telephone number so we can be sure we have your correct details to call you back if needed.

You will be asked to explain:

  • What the symptoms are, how they affect you and when they began
  • What you have tried already
  • Any medication you are already taking
  • Any existing medical conditions
  • Anything else that you think is relevant

At the end of your clinical assessment we’ll advise you on the next best step for your care. The NHS 111 health advisor will be able to:

  • Decide what clinical help you need
  • Tell you where you need to go to get that clinical help

Sometimes, if appropriate, your call may be referred to one of our clinicians – a trained nurse or paramedic – for further assessment of your condition or for medical advice. 

You may feel that some of the questions are unnecessary, but patient care and safety is our top priority – We need to rule out a life-threatening condition first and direct you to the most appropriate healthcare service to suit your needs as quickly as possible.

What care services can we direct you to?

We can put you in touch with services such as:

  • Out-of-hours doctor - where you can go to get medical help that is not an emergency when your own doctor’s surgery is closed.
  • Late opening pharmacy – to buy medicine and obtain advice when your usual chemist is closed.
  • Community nurse - a local nurse who can visit you and give you care.
  • Emergency dentist – for urgent dental help when your usual dental surgery is closed.
  • Walk-in centre or minor injuries unit – for urgent medical help without an appointment
  • An emergency department at a hospital - if you need urgent and emergency medical care.