A new three digit number – 111 – that will make it easier for patients to access urgent NHS healthcare has been launched in Oxfordshire.  The new service is part of a national programme to make care more accessible by introducing a single telephone number for every kind of non-emergency health care. 

NHS 111 will help patients’ access local health services and will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Calls from landlines and mobiles will be free.

NHS 111 will make it easier for people to get help quickly when they have an urgent health need.   NHS 111 will get you through to a team of fully trained call advisers, who are supported by health professionals.  They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, and give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you to the right local service.  The NHS 111 team will, where possible, book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to.  If they think you need an ambulance, they will send one immediately – just as if you had originally dialled 999.

Dr Joe Santos Oxfordshire Clinical Commission Group, Locality Lead for West Oxfordshire Locality Group said: “I am delighted that people in Oxfordshire will be able to benefit from this new service.   Many people are confused about who to contact and how to do so.   By having the easily memorable 111 number in place, for all urgent inquiries to run alongside the emergency ‘999’ number we are simplifying NHS services for patients.”

Dr Angela Jones, GP and Clinical Governance Lead for NHS 111 in Oxfordshire said: “I am hugely enthusiastic about helping to bring the NHS 111 service to Oxfordshire. Health and social care organisations across the county have been working together to make sure that anyone who rings the 111 number will be directed to a service that can help them. The aim is right service, first time, providing safe, high quality care to the people of Oxfordshire and to people visiting our county.”

You should call 111 if:

·         It is not a 999 emergency

·         You think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service

·         You do not think it can wait for an appointment with your GP, or

·         You do not know who to call for medical help

For less urgent health needs, you should still contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.  For immediate life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.