Not sure if it’s an emergency? Call NHS111

Mon 24th July 2017

NHS111 is the NHS non-emergency number, which is free to call and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

NHS111 is not a replacement for GPs and pharmacies. Patients are advised to try these options before calling NHS111.

You should call NHS111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency
  • you don’t know who to call or can’t get a GP appointment
  • you think you might need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, call 999.

How does it work?

NHS111 calls are handled by highly trained call handlers at North East Ambulance Service’s centres in Newburn and Hebburn. Many of them also answer the region’s 999 calls.

The call handler will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the most appropriate care. This could be offering you self-care advice, directing you to one of more than 300 NHS services in the North East. In some areas this may also involve us booking an appointment directly for you.

More than 85% of NHS111 callers are referred to services other than emergency departments or an ambulance but if the call handler thinks you need an ambulance, they will immediately arrange this for you.

More information about NHS111, including patient case studies, is available at or click here for a short presentation on NHS 111

Sign language

NHS 111 offers a video relay service that allows you to make a video call to a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. The BSL interpreter will call an NHS 111 adviser on your behalf and you’re then able to have a real-time conversation with the NHS 111 adviser, via the interpreter.

You will need a webcam, a modern computer and a good broadband connection to use this service. Visit NHS 111 BSL interpreter service for more details, including an online user guide.