A new service which aims to reduce overcrowding and risk of transmitting COVID-19 in hospital emergency departments is now up and running across the Black Country and West Birmingham.

NHS 111 can now offer a booked time slot in emergency departments to patients with an urgent (but not serious or life-threatening) illness or injury. If you're thinking about going to an emergency department (also known as A&E), you should contact NHS 111 first instead of just turning up at hospital.

Following a clinical assessment, you may be offered a booked time slot to attend your local emergency department, or you might be directed to a more appropriate local service, which could be an urgent treatment centre, GP practice or pharmacy. This means you will get quicker, safer care in the right environment for your needs.

Anyone who attends the emergency department without calling 111 first will not be turned away, but they may need to wait longer in the department as patients will be prioritised according to their clinical need.

You can access NHS 111 by calling 111, visiting 111.nhs.uk or using the NHS App which is available from the App Store or Google Play.

To read more about NHS 111, click here.