111.nhs.uk is often the perfect alternative for those seeking advice from the NHS 111 call service, which can see increased demand over a bank holiday period, with callers waiting longer to speak to a health advisor.
Additionally, from 7am on 24 August to 7am on 26 August, hospital consultants are planning a 48-hour strike. The British Medical Association (BMA) says they will only handle emergencies during this time, similar to how they work on Christmas Day. This disruption could further add to the demand placed on the service.
Consequently, as provider of the NHS 111 service for the North West, we encourage using 111 online to get advice and help you decide what to do for your health. Depending on what you need, you may get a call back from a doctor or nurse, arrange an arrival slot at A&E, or get guidance on self-care.
The ambulance service won’t be part of the strike, and the public should still call 999 for life-threatening emergencies. Urgent and emergency care services will be open; GPs and pharmacists will still be available to provide non-urgent health advice, and the symptom checker at NHS 111 online (111.nhs.uk) will be available if patients are unsure where to go.
Sally Rose, Head of the 111 service for NWAS, explains, “Bank Holidays tend to be some of our busiest periods anyway. This, together with the disruption caused by the industrial action, makes us believe the phone service will be even busier.
“While we are prepared for this, we really think using our online service is a good idea. It works exactly like the phone service but is usually faster.
“Also, we always receive many calls from people who’ve run out of prescription medication. To avoid this happening, I recommend that everyone check that you have enough of your prescribed medication to get you through the weekend.”
Remember, the NHS is still making sure planned care happens, especially for people who need it most urgently. You should still attend your appointments unless the NHS tells you to change them.
Local NHS hospitals will update their websites and social media about any changes to their services. Before you go anywhere, it’s smart to check for the latest information.
Don’t forget, NHS 111 online can help you:
• Figure out what to do if you’re not sure about your symptoms
• Get general advice and info about health
• Get more of your medicine if you need it right away
• Sort out your repeat prescription
• Get an emergency dentist appointment
NHS 111 online is not suitable for under 5s.