Unless it is a medical 999 emergency, the NHS in Sussex is urging everyone to call 111 to help people get the care they need.
From the start of December, people who call 111 are now able to speak to a range of health professionals and if needed can be given a time slot for services including A&E and the Urgent Treatment Centres.
The new initiative is designed to support people to receive care from the most appropriate service for their needs. It also helps to prevent over crowding in NHS services and ensure hospitals can maintain social distancing in waiting rooms.
No one will be turned away from an A&E or Emergency Department and you will be assessed in a timely way by a clinical member of the urgent care team and will receive emergency care and treatment if you need it.
If your healthcare needs are not urgent, you may be invited to contact NHS 111 at the hospital to be directed to the most appropriate healthcare setting for your needs.
You should continue to use 999 if you have a serious or life-threatening condition or accident.
However, when you think you need A&E, call NHS 111 first. It may well save you a trip to the hospital, and if you do need to attend it is likely to reduce the time for you to be seen.
NHS 111 First is the latest in the enhancements to NHS 111 in Sussex following the introduction of a clinical assessment service on 01 October 2020.
GPs, paramedics, nurses, mental health professionals, dental nurses and pharmacists are now all part of the enhanced service when you contact NHS 111 for help and advice.
NHS 111 in Sussex is provided by South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) working in conjunction with not-for-profit social enterprise Integrated Care 24 (IC24).