Patients in North Wales will be able to call 111 for free access to urgent out-of-hours medical care and round-the-clock health support and guidance from next week.
The new NHS 111 Wales service will launch in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area at midday on Tuesday June 22.
The easy-to-remember number is free to call from landlines and mobiles and provides access to both GP Out of Hours services and health advice from NHS Wales. It will help patients get the right information, guidance and treatment in the right place at the right time.
North Wales is the latest area of the country to roll out the clinically-led national service.
Callers can receive health advice over the phone, be invited to attend a Minor Injury Unit or arrange an urgent assessment by an out of hours GP or nurse practitioner depending on their symptoms.
Until the switchover takes place at noon on June 22, patients should continue to contact NHS Direct Wales on 0345 46 47 or the North Wales GP Out of Hours Service on 0300 123 55 66.
Dr Chris Stockport, Executive Director of Primary and Community Services at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said:
“The introduction of NHS 111 Wales in our area will help people across North Wales get the healthcare support they need free of call charges and in a way which suits them – and will also deliver real benefits for patients and for the health service.
“After the launch next week, callers to the simple and memorable 111 number will receive expert advice and guidance at any time. They will be fully assessed and if they need to be seen by a doctor or another healthcare professional out of hours while their own GP practice is closed, this will be arranged.
“Patients now have a really easy way to access healthcare information and urgent care advice 24 /7. We hope this will help people get the right information, guidance and treatment in the right place at the right time.”
In an emergency, patients should attend one of our emergency departments or dial 999 for an ambulance.
Richard Bowen, Programme Director for 111 NHS Wales said:
“Accessing urgent care services can be really quite confusing if you’re a member of the public – it can be difficult to know which services are available and when, and which healthcare professional or service is best placed to meet your needs.
“NHS Wales want to make that simpler for patients, so from June 22nd, people living in the Betsi Cadwaladr area will now only need to call one number – 111 for a range of health care advice and support.
“In a time of huge pressure on the health service, it’s fantastic to be able to work with health professionals including nurses, GPs, pharmacists and paramedics to ensure our patients get the help they need as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
NHS 111 Wales is staffed by a large team of nurses, medics and pharmacists, plus dozens of highly-trained new call handlers. The service is operated by the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust from bases across Wales, including a large centre in St Asaph.