Urgent care 111 line launched in County Durham

A urgent care phone service, available by calling 111, has been launched in County Durham and Darlington.

The 111 number is aimed to provide health advice to patients when their GP surgery is shut or when a 999 emergency call is not appropriate. NHS County Durham and Darlington hope it will save money and ease pressure on ambulance and A&E services.

If the service proves to be successful 111 could become the single telephone access point for non-emergency healthcare services, including those provided by NHS Direct. The scheme is set to be rolled out in Nottingham City and Lincolnshire and Luton later this year.

Professor Stephen Singleton, medical director of NHS North East said: ‘The introduction of the NHS 111 service in County Durham and Darlington is an important part of our regional vision to improve access to urgent healthcare for local people.

‘By better understanding what people really need from different local services, 111 will enable the commissioning of more effective and productive health care.  Most importantly it will help improve efficiency across the whole health care system by reducing unnecessary waste and making sure people get access to the right service, first time.’

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