Today, the 4th October, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board have started a 111 Service in which will provide a single, memorable, free to call number for patients to access if they need urgent help, but also provide access to health information and advice. This is a clinically led and clinically driven initiative and has the backing of all the key health and wider partner organisations including professional groups across Wales and will provide two clinicians for every one call-taker and is part of a plan to improve urgent and unscheduled care and, if successful, could ultimately be rolled out across the rest of Wales.
This is a phased approach for an all Wales service, which will be starting within Abertawe Bro Morgannwg UHB and will go live in the Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot from Tuesday 4th October 2016, and will roll out to Swansea later this month. This ‘Pathfinder’ will integrate GP Out of Hours call handling and the services currently provided by NHS Direct Wales under this simple, easy to remember number. It aims to assess patients in a timely and consistent manner and signpost patients to the most appropriate service thereby improving access particularly in primary and community care.
111 is the only 3 digit number for urgent non-emergency healthcare in the UK and is a 24/7 free to call telephone number for access to urgent non-emergency healthcare from a landline or mobile phone. During the opening times of GP practices or in the case of emergencies that are life threatening patients should phone their surgery or use the 999 service where appropriate.
David Rees AM said: “Instead of having to ring different numbers to contact NHS Direct Wales or GP out-of-hours patients can now call 111 to access both services. This will make it far easier for patients to get the right advice, support or treatment. And I am delighted that this is being initially rolled-out within Aberavon.”