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Month: May 2024

North West Ambulance Service Appeal: Use NHS 111 online for non-urgent health concerns

North West Ambulance Service is highlighting the benefits of an online service that could provide quicker health advice for people who need it this bank holiday weekend.

Callers to the NHS 111 phone line often find there are longer wait times to speak to a health advisor during the bank holiday as demand traditionally rises when access to their GP is restricted. Earlier this month, during the early May Bank Holiday weekend (4th-6th May 2024), the North West NHS 111 service saw a 46% increase in calls compared to the previous week.

Patients seeking help through NHS 111 online ( will answer the same questions as if they were speaking to someone but without the wait. can help you with:

  • Where to get help for your symptoms if you’re not sure what to do
  • How to find general health information and advice
  • Where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • How to get a repeat prescription
  • Getting emergency dental appointments

You can also access it through the NHS app. 111 online is not suitable for queries regarding patients under 5. You should still dial 111.

Paul Johnston, 111 Senior Service Delivery Manager, said, “Demand is always high on the 111 service during bank holidays as the public has less access to other healthcare options, such as their GP. We try to ensure we answer as many calls as possible by increasing staffing levels, but some callers will still wait longer than usual. We also expect the number of people calling 999 to increase in the days after the bank holiday, so we also urge patients to ONLY call 999 in life-threatening emergencies (see below) so as to keep ambulances available for those who need them.”

You should call 999 if you or someone else experiences:

  • Signs of a heart attack like pain like a heavy weight in the centre of your chest
  • Signs of stroke, such as your face dropping on one side
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heavy bleeding that won’t stop
  • Seizures
  • Or sudden and rapid swelling of the eyes, lips, throat or tongue.

Dr Paula Cowan, Medical Director for Primary Care at NHS England – North West, said: “This is an extremely busy time for NHS staff and we are extremely grateful for them working tirelessly over this bank holiday weekend and the days after, to ensure all those that need care receive it. The public can help us by using the right service for their needs, including 111 online for quick and easy medical help. NHS 111 online can help with the same problems as the 111 phone service and is a fast and convenient alternative. You can answer questions about your symptoms on the website or in the NHS App and get advice about what to do next. This includes getting a call back from a clinician if you need one.”