NHS 111 First – Frequently Asked Questions

Healthwatch have worked with The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) to produce a FAQ guide describing what the new NHS 111 First approach will mean for patients.

Emergency Departments (A&Es) are there for all and everyone if their time of need. They are the frontline care service we turn to when we’re experiencing a critical, life threatening health problem or have had a serious accident.

We want all patients to receive the best possible care in a safe and timely way, but too often people are kept waiting in their A&E. Many patients who go to A&E could be treated more appropriately, and often more quickly by another service within the NHS. 

Which is why the NHS is asking patients to call 111 first. By calling 111 first patients can potentially avoid waiting unnecessarily in a hospital waiting room and find the service that is right for their needs. 

Calling 111 first may also help to reduce pressure on parts of the health service that are overstretched by redirecting patients to services that are ready and available for them; helping make the NHS better for all. 

The coronavirus pandemic has also made clear that we need to change the way we all access urgent and emergency care, to help reduce the risk of infection. 

The guide outline what those changes are and answers some of the frequently asked questions about what these changes mean for patients.