As we mentioned earlier : The new three-digit number – 111 – that will make it easier for patients to access non-emergency NHS healthcare on the Island, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is launched on Tuesday.
NHS 111 available on the Isle of Wight from Midday on 25th October 2011. Islanders and visitors can now call 111 when they need help fast, but it isn’t a 999 emergency.
The new 111 service when launched on the Island will not be available in surrounding counties (e.g. Hampshire, Dorset or Sussex until later in the national programme).
The new service is part of a national programme to make care more accessible by introducing a single telephone number for every kind of non-emergency health care.
The 111 service will provide consistent clinical assessment at the first point of contact and direct people to the right NHS service, first time. The NHS 111 service was launched in four pilot areas in 2010. These are County Durham and Darlington, Nottingham City, Lincolnshire, and Luton. These pilots have guided the national roll out of the NHS 111 service.
The new 111 service is free to call from landlines and mobiles and is staffed by a team of fully trained call advisers, supported by nurses, paramedics and GPs who are on hand to assess callers’ needs and ensure they receive the right service as quickly as possible. It guides patients to a locally available service or provides appropriate advice and information.
When someone calls 111, they will be assessed straight away. If it is an emergency, an ambulance will be dispatched immediately without the need for any further assessment. For any other health problems, the NHS 111 call advisers will be able to direct people to the service that is best able to meet their individual needs. For minor illnesses and injuries, the 111 service will be able to provide immediate medical advice.
Chris Smith, Head of the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service said: “As part of the only truly integrated healthcare system, the NHS 111 service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year across the Island when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. Calls from landlines and mobile phones are free – just like 999. Islanders will still be able to access both the NHS Direct Number and the Island Health Line number for the foreseeable future but we expect them to be phased out at some stage when we and patients are happy that the NHS 111 number is working.”
When to call NHS 111
You should call 111 if:
you need medical help fast, but it’s not a 999 emergency;
you don’t know who to call for medical help or you don’t have a GP to call;
you think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service; or
you require health information or reassurance about what to do next.
NHS 111 will be particularly useful outside of GP surgery hours and for people who are away from home. With thousands of visitors to the Island each year this should be a very useful facility for holiday makers as well as Islanders.
If you ring NHS 111 before the launch date or elsewhere on the South coast you should get a recorded message advising you to ring 999 if it’s an emergency or 0845 46 47 for NHS Direct.
St. Helen’s GP, Dr John Partridge, from the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) comments: “When calling 111, people may be advised that they need to visit their local pharmacy, see their GP or to visit the Beacon Centre. The communications centre at St. Mary’s Hospital here on the Island is staffed by Nurses, Paramedics and highly skilled staff that are fully qualified in emergency and urgent care. We have provided integrated care on the Island for many years and this is a natural extension of that concept.”
“The NHS 111 service on the Island will make it easier for the public to access urgent healthcare. We want to make sure the right care is delivered in the right way for patients. Wherever possible, the 111 team will transfer patients directly to the people they need to speak to. This might include an out-of-hours doctor, a district nursing team, an emergency dentist or chemist.”
Over the coming months a range of publicity materials will be distributed across the Isle of Wight with a view to raising awareness amongst Islanders and encouraging a gradual or phased take up of the service.
Calls to the NHS 111 service on the IoW are handled by the Communications Hub at St Mary’s Hospital, Newport which is part of the integrated care system on the Island where all 999 calls and calls to GP out of hours care services are handled. Since 2006 NHS services on the Isle of Wight have been uniquely organised. We have the only combined hospital, ambulance, community, prison health and mental health services in England, as part of a larger body – the NHS Isle of Wight Primary Care Trust (PCT). The PCT (now part of the SHIP PCT cluster) is responsible for commissioning health services and the Island’s public health.
The Island’s population of 140,000 is affected by large influxes of visitors in the summer attending festivals and other events which can cause the population to almost double at these times. The Island also hosts one of the largest prisons in the UK, with a population of 1,700.
The Communications Centre at St. Mary’s Hospital currently handles approx 65,000 calls per annum of which:
Emergency 19,077 received via 999
Dr.’s Urgent Calls 2,501 dedicated Drs lines
OOH calls 28,771 when GP surgeries are closed
Routine calls 15,000 routine, enquiries and Patient transport
For further information, please visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk/111 website.
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