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News : Brighton Shoppers Unaware of NHS 111 Helpline
Dec 19, 2014 -- Almost half of Christmas shoppers have never heard of the non-emergency NHS 111 helpline, a survey has found.
The week-long study was carried out at Churchill Square shopping centre in Brighton by the city’s clinical commissioning group (CCG).
It also revealed 68% of shoppers said that if they needed to speak to a nurse or doctor during the weekend or evening, their closed GP surgery would be the first number they would call.
This is despite the helpline being open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A total of 43% of those filling out the questionnaire also did not know there was a walk-in centre near Brighton Station, where anyone can see a doctor or nurse without an appointment.
This is open from 8am to 8pm every day.
The survey was carried out as part of the CCG’s Great Choices Make Heroes’ campaign, which encourages people to consider alternatives to the already overstretched A&E department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
NHS data shows one in three visits to A&E in the city are for problems that could be dealt with outside of hospital.
Over the Christmas period, NHS 111 advisors can put people in touch with the out-of-hours service when a GP surgery is closed, refer people to an emergency dentist and even call an ambulance if they need to go to hospital.
CCG chief clinical officer Christa Beesley said: "When you don’t need to go to A&E but you do need medical attention, there are lots of services that can help in Brighton and Hove.
"The people we surveyed in Churchill Square who had used NHS 111 shared stories of good experiences – of getting helpful advice when they were away from home visiting family, and being referred to their local out-of-hours service."
For more information on NHS 111, Brighton’s walk-in clinics, late-night pharmacies and more, visit the website.
Using real-time and GPS technology, the website shows users what services are open and where they are situated in relation to their current location on an easy-to-read map.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, December 22, 2014