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New NHS helpline launched in Great Yarmouth and Waveney

PUBLISHED: 19:00 06 July 2012

Dr Nnene

Dr Nnene

Archant

A BRAND-NEW NHS helpline is being launched across Great Yarmouth and Waveney for all non-urgent healthcare calls.

People in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area with a medical enquiry who may not be sure if they need treatment or where they can get treatment can call the easy-to-remember 111 number 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The idea is to channel patients, or friends and family, through one easy number for all enquiries. Patients can call the freephone number for a range of reasons: if it’s a non-life-threatening need for treatment and care, a question about medication, a medical concern about yourself of another person, a query that cannot wait until the following day for your GP or to find out where your nearest NHS dentist is.

Dr Ike Nnene, the clinical lead for NHS 111 at HealthEast, Great Yarmouth and Waveney’s Clinical Commissioning Group and GP at Beccles Medical Centre, said: “111 is there to provide a single point of access to healthcare services for patients. We know the GP’s door isn’t open 24 hours a day or that people are sometimes unsure of where to go and what is available, so this will be a vital service for the future.

“We also want to remind patients to still use 999 in a medical emergency.”

The 111 helpline is unique in that it offers a range of services not previously available by other NHS support numbers. If a patient needs an ambulance, the call taker can send one automatically.

Harper Brown, Deputy Chief Executive Officer from NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: “The service replaces the NHS Direct’s telephone helpline, and this is very much a local service with local information available for the patient when they ring. We are building up a specific local services directory to ensure the 111 helpline is very much focused on the area serving the needs of the patient.”

Only people in Great Yarmouth and Waveney area can use the service at the moment. This includes those who have a landline number of 01493, 01502 and 01986 or who are registered with a GP practice in the patch. People in the area using mobile phones will also be able to use the service.

The new helpline is part of a national service being rolled out across the country. Norfolk patients, beyond Great Yarmouth, will be able to dial 111 later in the year. More information is available online at www.nhs.uk/111

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