New patients to get free 111 service
PATIENTS in Burton and Uttoxeter will have access to the non-emergency NHS 111 number from April 1.
The free number has been in operation in Derby since the beginning of 2012, north Derbyshire since 2011 and the south of the county towards the end last year.
It will now be extended to cover East Staffordshire in line with a national Government programme to replace its existing out-of-hours GP telephone service.
Northern Doctors Urgent Care has been chosen to run 111 in the area following a tender process. The current service is run by Badger Health and will finish on March 31.
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Burton GP Dr Charles Pidsley, chairman of the East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "111 will improve people's access to urgent healthcare.
"It will also help the delivery of NHS services as it will quickly direct people to the most appropriate place.
"111 will be a free call away from any mobile phone or landline. We think it will soon become as familiar as 999 but far more relevant to most people who have urgent healthcare concerns."
Staff will ask the caller questions to assess their symptoms before giving them healthcare advice or referring them to another service, such as a GP or a walk-in centre.
Any questions about the service can be asked during an event at Burton Town Hall on March 7 from 5.30pm.