Think 111 First

Protect others, protect the NHS, think 111 first

Emergency Departments/A&Es are there for everyone at their time of need. They are the frontline care service we turn to when we’re experiencing an urgent or life threatening health problem, or have had a serious accident.

We want all patients to receive the best possible care in a safe and timely way, but some people experience long waits in busy Emergency Departments (ED) and it may not always be the most suitable place to be seen.

Which is why the NHS is asking patients to contact 111 first.

Talk before you walk

Think 111 First is a new way to swiftly and directly access urgent health services in Devon.

Phone 111 or visit

By contacting 111 first, you get the care you need, services are preserved for when they are most needed and together, we protect each other from COVID-19.

Ensure you get the right help at the right place at the right time

Many patients who go to ED could be treated more appropriately, and often more quickly, by another service within the NHS.

Contact NHS 111 first to make sure you get the right care in the right place.

Benefit from a referral or a booked time slot

When you contact 111, you will speak to a local adviser or healthcare professional.

If the adviser thinks that you need to be seen at your closest Emergency Department/A&E, they will refer you and share the details with the department so that they know to expect you.

If the adviser thinks that you need to be seen in a Minor Injury Unit, Urgent Treatment Centre or your registered GP practice, they will book you a time slot, reducing the time you wait.

Help keep you, your family and friends SAFE

By advising you where to go when you need help, we can ensure social distancing and infection control measures are in place at all of our healthcare sites, limiting exposure to coronavirus for both patients and staff.

We need to ensure that:
  • Emergency Departments/A&E is reserved for emergency patients – time-critical emergencies that may be life threatening
  • People who do not need to attend an Emergency Department/A&E are directed to the right place for their needs
  • Patients who need to access hospital services can go directly to the appropriate department in the hospital and not necessarily via the Emergency Department/A&E
Why call 111 first?
  • You will speak with a local adviser or healthcare professional
  • If urgent assessment or treatment is needed, this can be arranged there and then, without any further delay. You will know exactly where to go, and when
  • This will help reduce waiting times and it will help you to be seen more quickly when you arrive
  • By advising you where and when to go, we can reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission
  • If you attend an A&E without contacting 111 first, you will be seen and prioritised depending on clinical need, but you may need to wait longer
  • Calling 111 first gets you access to the right service more quickly than a long wait in A&E might
  • Arrangements will not change for people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries.  People should continue to dial 999 as before

More health professionals are being employed to ensure the 111 service in Devon can respond to the expected increase in demand.

When to call 111 First

Working for the Devon 111 service

If you are interested in working for the 111 service in Devon, there are flexible opportunities with full training provided in Exeter and Plymouth for both Call Handlers/Health Advisors and Clinical Advisors.  Find out more here or scan the code below.

Patient leaflet

Click here to access the Think 111 First patient leaflet.