If you needed medical help or advice, would you know where to go?

Many people’s default setting is to head straight to A&E, but did you know that you could massively reduce your wait time, or even avoid having to go to A&E at all by calling 111?

111 is the National Health Service (NHS) non-emergency number. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and are free from any UK landline or mobile phone.

A trained advisor will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you straightaway to the local service that can help you best.

That could be:

Where possible, the NHS 111 team will book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to.

When should I use 111?

You should use the NHS 111 service if you require medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation.

E.g. when:

  • you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next
  • you are deciding whether to go to Accident & Emergency or another NHS urgent care service

For less urgent health needs, you can contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.


If it’s a life-threatening emergency always call 999 first.

If a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you’re concerned about your condition, continue to use that number.

If you’re unsure about where to go, call NHS 111.

Live waiting times are available for Accident & Emergency departments in and around Derby.

If you require a different means of communication or support in another language..

You can use the NHS 111 service through a textphone by calling 18001 111.

Calls are connected to the TextDirect system and the textphone will display messages to tell you what’s happening.

A typetalk relay assistant will automatically join the call. They’ll talk back what you’ve typed to the NHS 111 adviser and, in return, type back the adviser’s conversation so you can read it on your textphone’s display or computer.

There’s also a confidential interpreter service, which is available in many languages. Simply mention the language you wish to use when the NHS 111 operator answers your call.

See also:

Our top tips for staying well in winter

Where to go if you’re feeling under the weather