Doctors ask parents to ‘talk before they walk’

The 111 service can direct you to the right medical help
The 111 service can direct you to the right medical help

Doctors are reminding parents about a free 24-hour health advice and support line.

As the winter cough and cold season gets under way, NHS Aylesbury Vale Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group (CCGs) are reminding parents of small children that the NHS 111 advice and support service is free and at the end of a telephone line 24 hours a day seven days a week.

‘Talk Before You Walk’ posters and information cards are now available in GP surgeries and children’s centres across both CCG areas, highlighting the fact that parents can call NHS 111 any time, to be directed to the right local NHS service for their child’s particular health problem or concern.

The NHS 111 service offers a team of call handlers, supported by experienced clinicians, who will ask people about their child’s symptoms and direct them to the right local NHS service.

If it’s an emergency, NHS 111 can call an ambulance.

They can also book an out-of-hours appointment with a GP or direct you to nurse-led phone advice and high street pharmacies.

Dr Kevin Suddes, the clinical lead for unscheduled care at Aylesbury Vale CCG, said: “Our priority is to keep children fit and healthy and to help them get better when they are ill.

“Calling NHS 111 about worrying health issues that aren’t life-threatening is the best way to do that.

“Accident and emergency services are under particular pressure during the autumn and winter period, dealing with critically ill patients.

“Other NHS services can often be a better, quicker choice for non-emergencies.”

If a situation is life-threatening, parents should call 999.