A new medical telephone service for people living in Cambridgeshire went live today.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group have adopted a gradually phased approach to the service, NHS 111, which means that the service will be available in Cambridgeshire, today then available in the Peterborough from November 28.
This phased approach has been adopted to ensure patient safety and avoid a huge additional surge of calls to a new service.
111 will connect the caller to a team located in Cambridgeshire of fully trained call advisers, who are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask the caller questions to assess the symptoms, and give them healthcare advice they need or direct the most appropriate and available local service. People should use the NHS 111 service if they need medical help or advice urgently but it’s not a life-threatening situation.
Callers should use 111 if:
It’s not a 999 emergency
They think they need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service;
They don’t think they can wait for an appointment with their GP; or
They don’t know who to call for medical help.
Where an ambulance is required, they will dispatch one immediately – just as if the caller had originally dialled 999.
For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, people should continue to call 999. The service is being provided by Herts Urgent Care, an organisation that has a proven track record in providing the 111 service elsewhere.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group’s Clinical Lead for NHS 111, Doctor Andrew Anderson, said: “Anyone needing medical help fast, but who doesn’t know where to go should call 111 as the service will give the caller peace of mind. If NHS 111 advisers think the caller needs an ambulance, one will be sent immediately. Herts Urgent Care, who is providing the service, is an excellent provider of 111, and the service for the people of Cambridgeshire has undergone strict quality assurance testing and approval from NHS England Central Team.”
Herts Urgent Care Chief Executive, David Archer added: “111 will get the caller through to a team of fully trained call advisers, who will ask questions to assess the caller’s symptoms, and give them the healthcare advice they need or direct them to the right local service depending on each person’s illness or injury. The staff have undergone intensive training and rigorous testing and many have observed the live system in Hertfordshire. The staff are very well trained and have a good idea of the number of calls they will receive and the call centres are resourced to meet the level of calls. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right medical help – whatever is needed.”
People living in the Peterborough area should not access the 111 service until after 28 November and should continue to call their GP for non-urgent medical advice. An out of hours emergency number will be provided until the service becomes available.