Londoners reminded to use NHS 111 online ahead of the festive season

The NHS in London is reminding people they can get assessed and directed to the care they need by using NHS 111 online without leaving the comfort of their homes.

After entering answers about any specific health needs online, the service makes an assessment and directs users to the best place for their care – this can include a consultation with a pharmacist, a call back from a nurse, or visiting a same day urgent treatment centre or A&E.

In a medical emergency – when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk – people should continue to either go to A&E or phone 999.

With ongoing industrial action, the NHS in London will contact anyone whose appointment has to be rescheduled. NHS staff have been working hard to put local plans put in place to minimise disruption to patients as a result of strikes.

The NHS has prepared for winter like never before, expanding the use of 24/7 control centres across the capital for urgent and emergency care and recruiting additional 111 call handlers.

The latest monthly performance statistics show staff working in London A&E departments are dealing with an incredibly busy winter already with over 16,000 more attendances to London A&Es in November this year than in November 2021.

Dr Chris Streather, Medical Director for the NHS in London said:

“We are undoubtedly facing a challenging start to winter, with more serious ambulance call-outs, pressures in emergency departments and an increasing number of flu and Covid cases in hospitals.

“I would strongly advise anyone who is unsure on whether they need to visit A&E or call an ambulance to use the NHS 111 service as your first port of call. This way, you will be directed quickly to the most suitable care and help reduce pressures in busy A&E departments.

“It is however, vital that in a life-threatening emergency, such as if someone is having difficulty breathing, to continue to call 999 to get them the urgent care needed.”