nhs 111

When a member of the public calls 111 a trained adviser will ask them questions to find out what is wrong, give them medical advice and/or direct them to someone who can help, like an out-of-hours doctor or a community nurse. If the adviser thinks their condition is more serious, they will direct them to a hospital or request an ambulance.

Examples of when to call NHS111 include:

  • If you don't know who to call for medical help;
  • If you don't have a GP to call;
  • If you need medical advice or reassurance and it is not an emergency.

999 should still be used in an emergency, for example when someone is seriously injured or there is a risk to life.

How does it work?

The NHS111 service is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you straightaway to the local service that can help you best. That could be A&E, an out-of-hours doctor, an urgent care centre or a walk-in centre, a community nurse, an emergency dentist or a late-opening chemist.

Where possible, the NHS111 team will book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to. If NHS111 advisers think you need an ambulance, they will immediately arrange for one to be sent to you.

Calls to NHS111 are recorded. All calls and the records created are maintained securely, and will only be shared with others directly involved with your care.

SWASFT provides NHS 111 services for:

  • Cornwall – extended to Nov 2017
  • Devon – extended to Oct 2016
  • Dorset – 2018



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The 27 January 2016 was a normal day like any other for Austin Bamford from Nailsea until he experienced acute abdominal pain before collapsing. At the ambulance station nearby, paramedic Gill Shellard and emergency care assistant Michelle Foster had just returned to station for a well-deserved protected meal break eight hours into their shift, when details of the call came in. They volunteered to attend immediately and soon arrived on scene, at which point the patient was conscious, breathing and alert. The results of an initial assessment showed that he had an irregular heart rhythm and he collapsed in cardiac arrest soon after. He was successfully resuscitated before a further medical team arrived.

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