Nurse on a ward

NHS launches annual 111 campaign as health leaders prepare for winter

As the health sector continues to prepare for a busy winter, the NHS is launching its annual 111 campaign helping people get the support they need without unnecessarily clogging up local services in this time of great demand.

NHS 111 is the service best equipped to direct people to the most appropriate treatment option – whether that be a GP, a pharmacy consultation, a nurse call-back, or even an urgent walk-in treatment setting.

The national campaign is part of the NHS’s wider Help Us, Help You movement and will start rolling out across social media this week, urging people to visit the 111 website.

Whilst people are also being urged to call 999 and go to A&E when necessary, with estimates saying that as much as 40% of all A&E visits are avoidable and the latest data indicating that last month was the busiest October ever for A&E attendances and the most serious ambulance call-outs, it is important the NHS highlights the full range of treatment options. Not just for the patients but for staff too, as we enter what is expected to be the most challenging festive period ever.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “Last month our hard-working staff contended with another record month of A&E attendances and the most serious ambulance call-outs, which is only the tip of the iceberg of the growing pressures that the NHS is facing this winter, including the threat of a ‘twindemic’ of covid and flu, and reduced hospital capacity caused by issues discharging patients into social care.

“This new campaign will remind the public that NHS 111 online is available to signpost people to the best option for their care needs ahead of winter – it can provide the most appropriate local treatment option for medical issues quickly without needing to leave your home and saving you an unnecessary trip to A&E.

“It is vital that people continue to use A&E and call 999 in an emergency so as ever, please do come forward for the care you may need.”

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