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Almost half of people in Swansea are missing out on NHS 111 Wales’s easily accessed urgent healthcare

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Almost half of people in Swansea are missing out on accessing immediate and appropriate health care, according to a new survey.

The YouGov survey has revealed that 46 per cent of people in the Swansea Bay University Health Board area have never called NHS 111 Wales, with 38 per cent of people also having never used the NHS 111 Wales website and online symptom checkers.

The research, which was carried out for the Welsh Government’s ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign, explores the way the public across Wales is accessing healthcare during the ongoing pandemic.

Despite more than 70 per cent of respondents saying they felt confident using NHS 111 Wales to access urgent healthcare, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of people in the Swansea Bay University Health Board area say they would still make their nearest accident and emergency department their first port of call for non-life-threatening conditions.

This is not the most efficient course of action for patients with non-life-threatening illnesses or emergencies according to NHS Wales, which is now urging people in Swansea to use NHS 111 Wales online and telephone service to quickly and conveniently access advice for urgent medical problems.

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Back pain is one of the 30 symptoms that people can check on the 111 website (Image: Kindel Media / Pexels.com)

Claire Roche, Executive Director of Quality and Nursing at the Welsh Ambulance Service, which hosts the NHS 111 Wales service, said: “The NHS 111 Wales website should be your first port of call when you’re ill or injured and are unsure what to do. There are more than 30 symptom checkers on the website, from back pain and breathing difficulties, diarrhoea and dental pain, to falls and flatulence.

“You’ll answer a series of questions which determine what to do next, whether that’s to self-care for your symptoms at home, visit a pharmacist, consult a GP, call 111 for a telephone assessment or in extreme cases, call 999. If we can help patients with a less serious illness or injury online, or via the 111 telephone service then we’re preventing calls to 999 which may not always be appropriate.”

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Of course, sometimes it’s helpful to speak to a human, so if people can’t find the information they need on the NHS 111 Wales website and the online symptoms checkers suggest seeking further advice, or if they continue to be concerned about themselves or someone they care for, they can still call 111 for more information. Depending on the patient’s situation, the NHS 111 Wales telephone service allows people in Swansea to:

  • Get self-care advice
  • Find out what local health service can help or how to get medicine
  • Speak to a healthcare professional – this is usually done by them giving you a call back
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It is important to remember that pharmacists can help also with minor health concerns and provide over-the-counter and prescription medicines free of charge for a range of common ailments without the need to see a doctor. Around 350,000 people get help from a community pharmacy every day in Wales.

People who are suffering from life-threatening emergencies or injuries, such as choking, cardiac arrest, stroke and severe blood loss, should continue to call 999.


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