Health helpline 111 to launch in Cornwall
A contentious health helpline will go ahead in Cornwall from early next year.
Earlier this year NHS Direct pulled out of providing the service, which allows people to call 111 if they do not need 999 assistance.
Now South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, which already provides the helpline in Devon, Dorset and Somerset, will launch the service in Cornwall from February 4.
The line is designed to ease the pressure of accident and emergency staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske and the 999 service, allowing them to treat people with life-threatening.
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The service will also provide round-the-clock access to local non-urgent healthcare, even if you don’t have a GP.
NHS 111 will replace NHS Direct and will be manned by ‘highly trained advisers’, supported by clinical supervisors including qualified nurses, paramedics and midwives.
Dr Andy Haywood, NHS Kernow’s clinical lead for NHS 111, said: “This simple, free to call, easy to remember number will make it easier for people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to access round-the-clock urgent care, no matter where they are.
"If you are worried about your child who is ill, have a new rash or are concerned about, or need health advice, call 111 to speak to the team who will assess and help you straight away."
Dr Andy Smith, Medical Director for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to provide the NHS 111 service across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly from 4 February 2014.
“South Western Ambulance Service has nearly nine months of running the NHS 111 service in Dorset and we will be bringing that experience and expertise to the service in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, along with all the local knowledge that comes from managing our successful ambulance service in the region.”