New NHS 111 number launched for Devon


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Ambulance service will run the county’s version of the national non-emergency health helpline.

SOUTH Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust today (Tuesday) launched the new NHS111 telephone service for Devon.

The new telephone number is being rolled out nationally and is intended to make it easier for patients to access local health services.

The health service says the 24 hour number should be used when there is an urgent medical need but the condition does not warrant a 999 call.

When patients call they will be assess by trained call handlers, supported by medical staff, who will direct people to the relevant local service that best suits their needs.

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That could be an out of hours doctor, local walk in centre or minor injuries unit, community nurse, emergency dentist or late opening chemist.

If an emergency ambulance is required then this will be arranged automatically during the call.

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The Devon NHS111 service is commissioned by Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (New Devon CCG) including Torbay.

SWASFT already provides a NHS111 service in Dorset and will be providing the service in Devon over the next five years.

“We have nearly six months of running the NHS111 service in Dorset and we will be bringing that experience and expertise to the Devon service,” said Dr Andy Smith, Medical Director for SWASFT.

“We have a local base in Exeter with local staff and all the local knowledge that comes from managing our successful ambulance service in the county too.”

Out of hours GP calls currently managed by Devon Doctors will gradually migrate over to the NHS111 service between October and April next year.

NHS Direct will soon be ending its operations and patients ringing the old NHS Direct number will be asked to redial 111 instead.

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