Health leaders across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) are reminding patients that they can call NHS 111 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over Christmas and New Year if they need urgent medical care. And patients calling 111 will be able to speak directly to a clinician if they need to.
Dr James Ogle, GP in Leicestershire and urgent care clinical lead for LLR said "NHS 111 is the best way for patients to access health care services when they need them urgently, whatever the time of day or night. They will be open throughout Christmas and New Year, including weekends and all the bank holidays when most GP practices are closed. It is free to call and if you need to speak to a clinician, there is a larger team than ever available to advise and support you."
When a patient calls 111, they will be asked a number of questions, so the call handler understands their needs.
If the call handler then feels that patient needs to talk to a clinician then they will arrange for them to speak to a nurse, doctor or another health care professional. They will offer advice and guidance to support the patient to care for their condition at home or refer them on to the right service and care that best suits them. This may be a home visit, or they might make an appointment for the patient at an urgent care centre or primary care hub. If it is an emergency, they can also dispatch an ambulance.
Dr. Ogle continues "As a GP, I know that when my practice is closed, some of my patients still aren't sure what to do when they need immediate health advice or care, but it's not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 means that they will still be able to speak to a GP or other clinician whenever they need to, and they will be able to get the care that they need. That's not just reassuring for my patients, but it's reassuring for me to know that they will be cared for outside of normal practice hours."