NHS 111 Staffordshire has officially launched following its phased roll out across Staffordshire with Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care (SDUC) now at the helm.
The NHS 111 service first transferred to SDUC in October last year with call handlers and clinical advisers from Staffordshire working with partner health organisations to support patients.
The NHS 111 service has a team of fully-trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses.
They ask questions to assess each patient’s symptoms, then give healthcare advice, or direct the patient straightaway to the nearest local service that can help them the best, and in many cases the most quickly.
That could be an out-of-hours doctor, an urgent care centre or a walk-in centre, a community nurse, an emergency dentist, a late-opening chemist, or in an emergency, the local A&E department.
Where possible, the Staffordshire NHS 111 team will book an appointment or transfer the patient directly to the people they need to speak to.
NHS 111 is delivered from purpose-built premises at Staffordshire House, Campbell Road, in Stoke on Trent and Arun House, Stafford Technology Park, Stafford.
The service is accessed through the non-emergency NHS 111 telephone number with each caller assessed and directed to the most appropriate care service by NHS 111 call handlers.
John Harrison, chief executive of the Vocare Group, which runs SDUC, said: “We are delighted to be officially launching NHS 111 in Staffordshire, fulfilling our mission to ensure that patients here receive the best care possible, in the right place at the right time.
“We have a successful track record of delivering NHS 111 in the North East of the country and with 18 years of providing GP-led out-of-hours care across areas of the UK/England to tens of thousands of patients, means we are confident of delivering a high quality and resilient NHS 111 service for the people of Staffordshire.”
Andy Donald , the Senior Responsible Officer for NHS 111 in Staffordshire and Chief Officer of Stafford and Surrounds and Cannock Chase CCGs said: “Patient safety has been of paramount importance in establishing the service.
"We have worked closely together with Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care to monitor and carefully manage a phased introduction of NHS 111 area by area since October 2013.
"We have been committed to laying the right foundations for the service and to ensuring it is absolutely right for each local community in Staffordshire.”