Talk before you walk

People in County Durham and Darlington can now find the best form of care before visiting a hospital

As an emergency service NEAS needs to make sure that patients in a life-threatening situation get an ambulance as quickly as possible.

That's why calls to 999 asking for an ambulance are prioritised on a patient's clinical needs.

If you live in County Durham or Darlington have have an injury or ailment which isn't critical, call 111.

NHS 111 was launched just over a year ago and is helping us keep ambulances available for those who need them the most.

During the next couple of weeks all County Durham and Darlington residents will receive a leaflet through their letterboxes encouraging them to use the service. 

When you call 111 your needs will be assessed and you'll quickly be directed to the service that can best meet your needs.

If your 111 call turns out to be an emergency, you will still get an ambulance. 

Berenice Groves, Programme Director NHS 111 Service North East said: 'People are often confused by the number and type of healthcare services available to them locally.

"NHS 111 is designed to simplify the decision making process. By encouraging people to talk to us before they set off we aim to ensure patients are re-assured and then directed to those services that are closest to them and which can best meet their healthcare needs.

"We hope that by making sure patients access the most appropriate service in the shortest possible time we will be able to deliver a positive patient experience and higher levels of patient satisfaction.'

While NHS 111 service is currently only available across the County Durham and Darlington area, it will be rolled out over the North East area by April 2013.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and all calls from landlines and mobiles are free.

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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