NHS Non-Emergency Helpline to be Rolled Out Across Wales

An NHS non-emergency helpline is to be rolled out nationally over the next three years following a successful pilot scheme.

111 is a free treatment and advice service, managed by a team of professionals, who will treat or direct callers to the right health service for their need.

The service will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, has welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement.

Currently the service is only operating in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board – which covers Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea – and Carmarthenshire, where it was launched as a pilot in October 2016.

The pilot tested the practicalities of combining NHS Direct Wales and the GP Out of Hours services.

The decision to roll out follows an independent evaluation of the pilot. It found the service received over 71,000 calls in the first six months of operation, with 95% or survey respondents saying they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the service.

There has also been a reduction in the number of ambulances taking patients to emergency departments.  This change was mainly seen in non-urgent journeys – down by just over 25% during the evaluation period.

Lesley Griffiths AM said: “The 111 helpline was initially set up to try and ease pressures on unscheduled care in the Welsh NHS and stop people from unnecessarily attending A&E departments.”

“Judging by the evidence from the pilot scheme, the impact appears to be positive, with the service supporting patients and helping the NHS treat people in need of urgent care more effectively.”

“I am pleased people from Wrexham will ultimately end up benefiting from the service as it’s rolled out across the country.”