New number to call for healthcare needs

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FROM October people will be able to use a new number for non-life threatening emergencies.

The Department of Health has developed the NHS111 number, which is free to dial.

The service is due to start in the Portsmouth area from October this year and will offer patients access to healthcare by dialling 111.

This includes calls currently made to NHS Direct and the out-of-hours GP surgeries number.

The five-year contract – which has been commissioned by the primary care trust cluster Ship and covers Portsmouth and Hampshire – will cost £20m to run.

Sarah Elliott, the director of nursing for Ship, said: ‘NHS111 is a national service that will be introduced here in October and everywhere in the country from next April.

‘It offers help and advice, with patients being directed to the most appropriate place. Patients will be treated more quickly and appropriately and it could save the need for an unnecessary trip to the emergency department.’