South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is encouraging people to use the NHS 111 online service to get the help they need from the convenience of their own homes as winter pressures increase across the country.
The NHS 111 online service is available for people to use to get help on a wide range of health problems. The service is best equipped to direct people to the most appropriate local treatment option such as GPs, pharmacy consultations, a call-back from a nurse or urgent walk-in treatment centres.
It is estimated up to two-fifths of A&E attendances are avoidable or could be better treated elsewhere. There are many different care options – not only are they more convenient for patients but can also help relieve pressure on already busy emergency departments.
Dr. John Black, Medical Director at SCAS, said:
“Our frontline ambulance crews, 999 and 111 call handlers, patient transport service, volunteers and the many other teams who ensure we can respond to patients as quickly as possible are working extremely hard as we see increased demand for our services.
“As always, we are prioritising responses to the most seriously ill and injured patients and everyone who needs an ambulance response will get one. But there are other and often better options for people to get the care they need which can help to reduce some of the pressure we face.
“NHS 111 online is a really useful tool which can refer people to the most appropriate service available including getting a call back from a trained clinician or nurse, booking them an appointment at A&E or providing advice on how to help them recover.
“We are encouraging everyone to help play their part as we approach the busy winter period by utilising 111 online for medical advice, by getting their flu and Covid vaccinations and ensuring calls to 999 are only made in life-threatening emergencies.”
Through 111.nhs.uk people can:
- Find out how to get the right healthcare in their area, including whether they need to see a GP or seek urgent care
- Get advice o self-care
- Get a call back from a nurse, doctor or other trained health professional if they need it
People should call 111 to speak to someone if they need to:
- Discuss complex medical problems
- Get medical advice for a child under five