Beds, Herts & Bucks

Non-emergency 111 number goes on trial in Bedfordshire

Image caption The number will provide advice on out-of-hours care and 24-hour pharmacies

People in Bedfordshire who need medical help or advice can now call a new non-emergency number.

NHS Luton is one of four primary care trusts trialling the number. The others are Durham and Darlington NHS, Lincolnshire and Nottingham.

The 111 system is designed as a faster way of getting advice, the Department of Health said.

"The 111 service is free, staffed by fully-trained call advisers, supported by nurses," a health spokesman said.

"They are on hand to assess callers' needs and ensure they receive the right service as quickly as possible.

"Teams guide patients to a locally available service or provide appropriate advice and information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

"The number can be used when you need help fast but it is not life-threatening, or when you do not know who to call.

"This will be particularly useful outside of GP surgery hours and for people who are away from home."

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