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'111 First' means urgent and emergency care in the right place, at the right time, every time

Posted on: 3 November 2020

How people access parts of emergency care in London is changing 

  • People who need urgent, but not life-threatening, care are being asked to contact NHS 111 before going to A&E. This will reduce waiting times and support social distancing in waiting rooms 
  • 111 First will mean from 1 December all Londoners can have an appointment booked for them at a nearby A&E if it's needed 
  • General Practice is open as usual for telephone, online, video and face-to-face appointments

How people access parts of emergency care in London is changing, with '111 First' helping them to get the right care, in the right place, more quickly. 

All Londoners are being asked to contact NHS 111 online or by phone first, before going to a hospital Accident and Emergency department (A&E/ED) if they have an urgent, but not life-threatening, medical need. 

The new arrangements will also help the NHS to better control the risk of coronavirus while space in A&E waiting rooms is reduced to ensure social distancing.

From 1 December, NHS 111 can arrange an urgent face-to-face A&E appointment during an allocated time slot anywhere in London, if someone needs it – meaning shorter waiting times and fewer people in A&E. Arrangements are also in place to let A&Es know if shielding patients are coming so they can be kept safe.

NHS 111 can also make direct appointments online, by phone or facetoface with a variety of health services, including the Urgent Treatment Centre, a patient's own GP, specialised mental health crisis services, dental services and pharmacists for urgent repeat prescriptions and advice.  If needed, an ambulance can also be despatched.NHS 111 online or by phonewhich is being significantly expanded in the capital, is already available at any time of day or night with trained health advisers, doctors, nurses, paramedics or pharmacists able to get people the right NHS care quickly and in the right place. 

Arrangements will not change for people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries who should continue to dial 999 and anyone who arrives at A&E without calling NHS 111 will still receive medical care, with those needing emergency treatment prioritised. 

GP practices are open as usual.  Contact them first, as you normally would, if you need an appointment with your GP.