People requiring A&E will be urged to book an appointment through NHS 111 under a trial in parts of England.
The aim is to direct patients to the most clinically-appropriate service and to help reduce pressure on emergency departments as staff battle winter pressures, such as coronavirus and flu.
The pilots are live in Cornwall, Portsmouth, Hampshire and Blackpool and have just begun in Warrington.
If they are successful, they could be rolled out to all trusts in December.
However, people with a life-threatening condition should still call 999.
‘Best possible advice’
Under the new changes, patients will still be able to seek help at A&E without an appointment, but officials say they are likely to end up waiting longer than those who have gone through 111.
More NHS 111 call handlers are being brought in to take on the additional workload, alongside…
— to www.bbc.co.uk