Stay well this winter: think 111 first to ease pressure on NHS

Emergency teams in Sussex are reminding residents to ‘think 111 first’ during the festive season to ease pressure on frontline services.

In an urgent but non-life threatening situation where you think you may need to go to hospital, calling NHS 111 or going to NHS 111 online for instant advice should be the first point of call.

When GPs and pharmacists are out-of-hours and you think you need urgent care, trained NHS 111 advisors can help patients to access the right care, in the right place, more quickly.

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After an initial conversation with a call handler, patients can have a video or phone consultation with a clinician and, if needed, will be given a timeslot to arrive at a nearby urgent treatment centre, minor injuries unit or out-of-hours doctor if the patient needs to be seen urgently.

People are being asked to call 111 rather than go to hospital over the festive period Picture: Unsplash

Dr Victoria Beattie, clinical director of integrated urgent care at Sussex NHS Commissioners said: “As we head into what is expected to be a challenging winter for NHS services, we are encouraging people to think differently about how they access urgent care.

“By contacting NHS 111 first, people can receive the right treatment, in the most appropriate location. This way of providing urgent care not only benefits our patients but our NHS services as well, which are already under an increasing amount of pressure.”

The NHS is under even more pressure with an increase in Covid cases, and as the weather turns colder, incidents and winter illnesses will begin to go up, creating more people using the emergency services.

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NHS 111 services in Sussex are provided by South East Coast Ambulance NHS Trust (SECamb), who also run the ambulance services in the South East.

Dr Fiona Moore, medical director at SECAmb, said: “It is important that anyone who requires urgent, but not life-threatening treatment contacts NHS 111 instead of dialling 999 or attending hospital.

“We have a range of trained healthcare professionals who can help with most illnesses or injuries and can make sure you get the right care for your needs.

“As we head into winter, we’re asking the public for help us by saving A&E and 999 for the most serious emergencies and if they’re unsure what to do, ‘Think 111.’”

NHS 111 services can be accessed by dialling 111 and speaking to a trainer advisor or by visiting

You can also get instant health and care advice via 111 on the NHS App.

If you are deaf and want to use the phone service, you can use the NHS 111 British Sign Language service or call 18001 111 on a textphone.