Online and telephone 111 service now available across Wales
Urgent medical and health advice is now available across Wales 24 hours a day, seven days a week following the successful rollout of the 111 helpline.
The aim is that the service should be everyone’s first port of call before making a phone call and will give people up-to-date health advice and guidance on which NHS service is right for them.
The service is run by the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust and can be accessed online at 111.wales.nhs.uk or by telephone by calling 111 and includes more than 65 symptom checkers and information about local services
The free-to-call 111 service combines the NHS Direct Wales advice line for non-999 health calls with the out-of-hours GPs and the Welsh Ambulance Service.
While 999 should always be used in emergency situations, the service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing health information, advice and access to urgent out-of-hours primary care.
It allows GPs, pharmacists and nurses and call-handlers to arrange appointments, prescriptions, advice and home visits, while for urgent health concerns, call handlers on the 111 helpline can also help signpost to appropriate and timely services.
The service was first announced in 2020 and was initially only available Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay – including Bridgend – health board areas.
In June last year, the service was extended to include Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board after criticisms of the slow roll out
The service is now in place in all seven health board areas in Wales including Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, which went online last month.
A real difference
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “Medical advice and information about accessing the right service at the right time is available for free across Wales.
“This fantastic service, supported by £15m of Welsh Government funding, will help people receive the most appropriate care for their health needs and will also help to ease pressure on our vital 999 service
“Together with the NHS 111 Wales website, this easy to remember free phone service will make a real difference to our healthcare service in Wales.”
Dr Stephen Bassett, National Clinical Advisor for 111, added: “Until now, people have had to use different numbers to contact different services, but 111 brings them together under one number.
“People calling 111 will firstly speak to a specially trained call handler who will ask a series of questions.
“This will allow the service’s experienced healthcare professionals – nurses and, during evenings, weekends and bank holidays, GPs and pharmacists – to prioritise calls so the most seriously ill are treated first.
“Depending on the urgency of their condition, some people will get a call back from a nurse, doctor or pharmacist if they call out-of-hours.
“If they need to see a GP out-of-hours, 111 colleagues can arrange this.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.