Posted on: 21 December 2020

From North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups:

How people access emergency care in North West London has changed, with ‘NHS111 First’ helping them to get the right care, in the right place, more quickly.  

If you have an urgent, but not life-threatening medical or mental health need, contact NHS 111 online ( or by phone first, before going to a hospital Accident and Emergency department (A&E/ED).  

These new arrangements, being rolled out across the whole country, will help the NHS to better control the risk of coronavirus while space in A&E waiting rooms is reduced to ensure social distancing.

Launched on 1 December, NHS111 can arrange an urgent face-to-face A&E appointment during an allocated timeslot anywhere in London, if someone needs it - meaning shorter waiting times and fewer people in A&E. Arrangements are also in place to let A&Es know if shielding patients are coming so they can be kept safe.

NHS111 can also make direct appointments online, by phone or face-to-face with a variety of health services, including Urgent Treatment Centres, a patient’s own GP, specialised mental health crisis services, dental services and pharmacists for urgent repeat prescriptions and advice. If needed, an ambulance can also be despatched.

NHS 111 which is being significantly expanded, is already available at any time, day or night with trained health advisers, doctors, nurses, paramedics or pharmacists able to get people the right NHS care quickly and in the right place. 

Arrangements will not change for people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries who should continue to dial 999 and anyone who arrives at A&E without calling NHS 111 will still receive medical care, with those needing emergency treatment prioritised. 
If you are feeling unwell or have symptoms of any illnesses that you are worried about, your GP practice is still here for you. If you need an appointment, please contact them first, as you normally would.   

Doctor Mohini Parmar, Chair of Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group and Primary Care Lead for North West London, said: 

“We welcome these new arrangements in North West London. It’s good to know that extra NHS support is being provided for our residents. It’s important, now more than ever, that patients are seen in the right place, first time to put their minds at ease, limit the need to travel and stay in line with social distancing measures.” 

To support the 111 First initiative as we go into the traditionally busy winter period, capacity in the NHS 111 service is being expanded significantly. 

Around 2,500 staff look after Londoners as part of the NHS 111 service, 24/7 365 days of the year; this number will be expanded by 644, including 166 more doctors, nurses, pharmacists and paramedics.

London’s approach has been developed by hospital consultants, GPs, nurses, paramedics pharmacists, social workers, mental health specialists, NHS 111 teams in the capital, using local knowledge and expertise. This is similar to that being used across the rest of the country but the region has also spoken with a number of people from across the capital to get their views and considered their feedback as part of the design process, ensuring the approach works for Londoners.   

For more information on how to stay well this winter visit this website. Stay in touch on Twitter @HealthierNWL and Facebook NHS Stay Well #HelpUsHelpYouNWL