A MAJOR computer outage has hit the system used by the Welsh Ambulance Service to refer patients from the non-emergency 111 number to out-of-hours GP providers.

The system is used by health boards to coordinate these services for patients, with the outage impacting all four nations in the UK.

A Business Continuity Incident has been declared, and partners across Wales have developed and deployed plans so services can continue to operate.

This is what people should know while work is being done to resolve the issue...

Should the public continue to use 111?

Yes. As always, the public is encouraged to start with online help at 111.wales.nhs.uk where there is health advice and information available, including more than 70 symptom checkers for ailments and minor injuries.

What will be my experience if calling 111?

The weekend is a high demand period with processes put in place to continue to provide services. Capacity is being maximised by the Welsh Ambulance Service who answer 111 calls, and by health boards who provide the out-of-hours service. It may take longer for calls to be answered.

What can the public do to help?

  • Take steps to avoid needing to call 111 – if calling for health information consider whether the enquiry is urgent.
  • Anyone with a medication concern is encouraged to speak to their GP during working hours today.
  • Local pharmacists can help with non-urgent concerns and can help with minor ailments and medicine matters.
  • GP and pharmacy opening hours are available online at 111.wales.nhs.uk which also has trusted health information on various common health concerns, chronic conditions, treatments, mental and physical health and more.
  • Ambulance and emergency departments remain very busy; they should only be used to life-threatening and serious emergencies only.