With more people choosing to access health advice virtually, is the NHS111 service making a difference? This was the focus of a piece of research carried out by Healthwatch England which aimed to understand people’s experiences of the service. 

The findings were generally positive, with good awareness of the NHS111 service and high levels of satisfaction from people that had used it – but the research also highlighted some areas for improvement. This included a need for more joined up information about local services and a need to do more to tell people about NHS111 and recent developments, linked to the national ‘Think NHS111 First’ campaign.

If people need urgent advice or treatment, we are encouraging them to call NHS111 first and they will be directed to the most appropriate service for their needs. This could be a GP appointment or referring people to a pharmacy or another community service.

Since December, the NHS111 service also now has the ability to book timed appointment slots in A&E where needed, to reduce waiting times and help people get seen more quickly. In an emergency or a life threatening situation people should continue to call 999.