Integrated Urgent Healthcare Service

A new Integrated Urgent Care Service is being launched across the Thames Valley in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire from September.

Currently NHS 111 is a free national telephone service to assess the level of care that someone needs and signpost them to an appropriate healthcare service.  It does not offer a diagnosis but assesses and provides advice on the person’s symptoms, suggests the type of care they need, how soon they should access this and what local healthcare services are available.

NHS England is extending Integrated Urgent Care across the country and Thames Valley is an early adopter of this new service.  It brings together 111, out-of-hours primary care and a range of other services which will be accessible through a single phone call.

Patients will continue to call the 111 number and the trained call handler will assess the person’s needs.  They will be able to arrange for the patient to see or speak to a healthcare professional 24hrs a day, seven days a week, including GPs where this is clinically appropriate.

The new Thames Valley 111 will help patients access a wide range of clinical care through a single call, including dental, pharmacy and mental health services.

It is expected that approximately 30 per cent of calls will be handled by a healthcare professional from day one of the new service.

Where integrated urgent care services have been launched elsewhere in the UK they have reduced the number of A&E admissions and ambulance call-outs.

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