Delay to North Wales NHS 111 roll-out labelled 'a disgrace'

October 28, 2020

The Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has spoken of her dismay at the news that the roll-out of the non-emergency NHS 111 telephone service will not be fully established in North Wales until 2022.

Whilst 999 should always be dialled in emergency situations, the NHS 111 advice service is designed to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing health information, advice and access to urgent out-of-hours primary care.

Mrs. Finch-Saunders said: “I have received a number of complaints from confused constituents who have been directed towards the NHS 111 service to find that the non-emergency medical advice service remains unavailable for the North Wales area.

“To now learn of a delay to the national roll out of this service is, frankly, not good enough. This is an incredible disappointment, especially as residents had already been informed that the service would be rolled out for the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board area in 2021.

“That the alternative non-emergency advice number continues to charge residents of North Wales is also a disgrace.

"This means that those isolated and elderly residents, without routine access to the computer, will continue to be charged to access an essential health helpline to get the advice they require.

“The NHS 111 helpline is a vital telephone service that many of my most vulnerable residents are desperate to utilise.

"I urge the Welsh Health Minister to look again at these plans to ensure that the original promised time frame can actually be delivered.”