MORE people in the region than ever before are now receiving urgent health advice over the phone via the NHS 111 service.

Around 3,800 people a day – and 13,000 at weekends – in Yorkshire and Humberside are making use of the initiative.

Earlier this winter, a massive campaign – Help Us, Help You – was launched to promote the scheme and ease pressure on hard-pressed hospital A&E departments.

All calls to NHS 111 are handled by fully-trained staff who can provide advice, direct people to services such as pharmacies or arrange appointments for further assessment.

Increasing numbers of callers can now also receive help directly from a clinical professional, where appropriate for their condition.

Sally Bell, senior assurance manager for NHS England in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Every day in this region thousands of people find NHS 111 offers expert advice without the need to visit a hospital emergency department.

“Over the winter months, where pressure on services is at its highest, anyone in need of assistance for a life-threatening emergency can continue to get help at their A&E.

“However, with 1.7 million people in Yorkshire and the Humber using NHS 111 in the past year alone, it’s clear that there are safe alternatives to A&E for less severe issues.

“As part of a long-term plan for the health service, the NHS in England is rapidly expanding access to urgent and emergency care by increasing community services, investing in the most up-to-date technology and improving over-the-phone advice. This will mean more people get the right care, at the right time, while reducing the pressure on ambulance and A&E services.”

The regional NHS 111 facility is operated by Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

Keeley Townend, the ambulance service’s associate director of integrated urgent care, said: “NHS 111 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and our staff can provide advice to help patients and refer them on to healthcare professionals, including nurses, paramedics and pharmacists, as appropriate to their needs.

“There is also an online service,, where people can obtain advice to help them if they are feeling unwell.

“When someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, people should continue to dial 999 for emergency assistance.”

The latest data also shows that during November last year, only one in ten callers to 111 was advised to visit A&E, while almost 15 per cent were reassured that they need not attend any further NHS service.

Across the country that month, people called the 111 service over 1.4 million times, up six per cent compared to November the previous year.

And patient survey results indicate that 111 is starting to ease pressure on frontline services.

More than one in four people said they would have gone to A&E and 16 per cent said they would have called an ambulance had 111 not been available.