Non-emergency? Dial 111

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PROPOSALS for a new 111 number for non-emergency calls could alleviate the strain on ambulance services in Harrogate if plans go through.

As part of its application to become a foundation trust, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has announced that it will bid for the new number, part of a national programme to provide an alternative to 999.

David Whiting, chief executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “999 calls to our service have been on the rise and whilst many callers need help, they do not need an emergency ambulance.

“By having a different option for less urgent calls it will free up our clinical staff to attend to patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

“It will protect the 999 service and improve access to other health and social care services which are more appropriate to people’s needs.”

The number is intended to make it easier for patients to reach emergency services and relieve some of the pressure on the 999 service, so patients with serious illnesses and injuries, who need a fast response, can be reached more quickly.

The consultation over the plans will run until December 4 and people can respond to it by emailing foundationtrust@yas.nhs.uk or by calling 01924 584567 and asking for the documentation.