NHS 111 helps you access urgent local health services when you need them. Call NHS 111 free if you need medical advice, but it is not a 999 emergency. You will be assessed, given advice and directed to the local service that can help you best - that could be an out-of-hours doctor, minor injury unit, urgent care centre or emergency dentist.
When to use it
You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation. For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.
If a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition, continue to use that number.
For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.
Call 111 if:
- you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
- you think you need to go to the emergency department or need another NHS urgent care service
- you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
- you need health information or reassurance about what to do next
How does it work?
The NHS 111 service is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you straightaway to the local service that can help you best. That could be the emergency department, an out-of-hours doctor, an urgent care centre or a walk-in centre, a community nurse, an emergency dentist or a late-opening chemist.
Where possible, the NHS 111 team will book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to.
If NHS 111 advisers think you need an ambulance, they will immediately arrange for one to be sent to you.
Calls to 111 are recorded. All calls and the records created are maintained securely, and will only be shared with others directly involved with your care.
NHS 111 offers a video relay service that allows you to make a video call to a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. The BSL interpreter will call an NHS 111 adviser on your behalf, and you're then able to have a real-time conversation with the NHS 111 adviser via the interpreter. You'll need a webcam, a modern computer, and a good broadband connection to use this service.
If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can use the NHS 111 service through a textphone by calling 1800 1111. Calls are connected to the TextDirect system and the textphone will display messages to tell you what's happening. A typetalk relay assistant will automatically join the call. They'll talk back what you've typed to the NHS 111 adviser and, in return, type back the adviser's conversation so you can read it on your textphone's display or computer.
There is also a confidential interpreter service, which is available in many languages. Simply mention the language you wish to use when the NHS 111 operator answers your call.