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Free 111 Service to Be Introduced into NHS

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A new non-emergency service is to be launched for the NHS, providing a simple 111 number that people can call when they need advice on a medical condition or problem.

The service will replace the current NHS Direct phone line and is designed to provide a first port of call for help during hours when doctors’ surgeries are not open. The 24 hour service is intended for non-emergency situations; those requiring immediate help or assistance in an emergency should still call 999 for an ambulance as per usual.

The 111 number has already received a trial run in several areas, and is now expected to be rolled out across the country. It is also said that patients will be able to use the number to book an appointment at their local surgery.

The best feature of the new service is that you will be able to get immediate advice on a wide range of medical problems and issues. Those in charge of the service can then ascertain the best course of action, whether it be getting medication from your local chemist or calling an ambulance. In the case of the latter the ambulance would be requested by those working at the service.

The idea is that the 111 number will be a first port of call for everyone who is unsure about a medical condition and needs advice on what to do next. Trained advisers will be staffing the service right around the clock. The number will be rolled out by 2013.

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