Now ring 111 for any health advice

A HEALTH line set to improve services delivered to patients needing non-emergency care has been launched in Derbyshire.

The simple phone number - 111 - has replaced NHS Direct for people in parts of Derbyshire including the Bolsover area, and is the number to call when it is less urgent than 999.

It is designed to give patients a better experience, by directing them to the relevant service - be it their local GP or emergency room - in one phone call.

Jackie Pendleton, of the North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The aim is to deal with a patient in a single call with no call backs.

“Another requirement of a 111 service is that emergency calls will be transferred to the ambulance service with no delay to the caller.”

Pauline Hands, operations manager at Derbyshire Health United, which is providing the 111 service, said it was hoped the new phoneline would ensure patients are not making several calls to get the information they need.

She also said it will help NHS workers by ensuring less non-emergency calls are made to 999.

Ann Thurman, a 111 nurse advisor, said: “It’s a really good system and I think it will be really good for patients.”

Following the North Derbyshire launch there will be a second phase covering the High Peak and Derby City early in the new year, with the whole of Derbyshire covered by NHS 111 by late summer 2012.

Access to GP surgeries will remain unchanged via their surgery number.

l For more information on the service, visit www.derbyshirecounty.nhs.uk