Jackie Bell, Head of Service for 111 recommends the public use NHS 111 online to get quick health advice.
The online service works the same as over the phone and is already popular with people who want quick advice about the best options for getting the care they need. These can include getting a call back from a trained clinician or nurse, booking them an appointment in A&E, or providing advice.
Jackie said: “We expect it to be another extremely busy time for our 111 health advisors and clinicians. Over the Jubilee weekend, we received over 42,000 calls. It was the four busiest days we’ve had this year, and this weekend is likely to be the same.
“We are prepared for this, but callers may wait longer to get through on the phone at the busiest times. For this reason, we’d recommend using NHS 111 online if you can. You answer the same questions and receive the same advice, but it’s likely to be quicker.
“We always receive many calls from people who’ve run out of prescription medication. To avoid this happening, I would recommend everyone to check you have enough of your prescribed medication to get you through the holiday.”
NHS 111 online is not suitable for under 5s.
NHS England North West regional medical director, Dr Michael Gregory, said: “We are extremely grateful to the dedicated teams across the NHS in the North West who will be working hard over the coming bank holiday weekend to ensure all those that need care receive it. The NHS 111 online service is definitely convenient for those who can use it.
“It helps to direct people to the right service quickly, as well as providing medical advice. It’s just one of the ways that we are trying to get people to the right service first time while keeping urgent and emergency services free for the most seriously ill and injured patients.”
111.nhs.uk can help you with:
• where to get help for your symptoms, if you’re not sure what to do
• how to find general health information and advice
• where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
• how to get a repeat prescription
• get emergency dental appointments
You should still ring 999 if you experience:
• signs of a heart attack – pain like a heavy weight in the centre of your chest
• signs of stroke such as your face dropping on one side
• difficulty breathing
• heavy bleeding that won’t stop
• or sudden and rapid swelling of the eyes, lips, throat or tongue