Behind the scenes at NHS 111

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NHS 111 is a free-to-call single non-emergency number medical helpline operating in England and Scotland. The service is part of each country’s National Health Service and has replaced the telephone triage and advice services provided by NHS Direct, NHS24 and local GP out-of-hours services. The transition was completed in England during February 2014[1] with Scotland following during April 2014.[2] NHS Direct Wales continues to use the 0845 46 47 number.

The service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year and is intended for ‘urgent but not life-threatening’ health issues[3] and complements the long-established 999 emergency telephone number for more serious matters, although 111 operators are able to dispatch ambulances when appropriate using the NHS Pathways triage system.[4][5]

NHS Direct Wales continues to operate via 0845 4647. The health service of Northern Ireland will be able to introduce its own similar service using the 111 number if it chooses to do so.

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