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111 Health Helpline To Launch in Cornwall

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7:01am 3rd December 2013

A controversial health helpline will go ahead in Cornwall after all.

Patients are supposed to be able to call 111 if their illness is not serious enough for 999.

But NHS Direct pulled out of the scheme, warning it was not financially viable.

Now South Western Ambulance Service says it will launch on 4th February, for anyone who needs non-emergency medical help.

It is designed to take the pressure off the A&E department at Treliske, leaving teams to focus on life-threatening treatment.

But the scheme will not now launch until after the busy winter period, when the hospital is expected to be under the greatest pressure.

The service will replace NHS Direct and will involve what officials describe as "highly trained" advisers, led by clinical supervisors, such as 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 NHS111 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."

7:01am 3rd December 2013

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