As of Tuesday 13th August 2019, the contact numbers for both the GP Out of Hours Service and NHS Wales Direct have changed to: 111

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is 111 and why are you introducing it now? The 111 service will integrate two services that are currently provided by different parts of the NHS in Wales – namely NHS Direct Wales and the GP out-of-hours service when your own surgery is closed. The introduction of a simple, free, memorable three-digit number has been planned in NHS Wales for a number of years. We know people sometimes find it hard to know which service to contact and when, so introducing a free-to-call number will make it easier not just to access urgent care, but also health information and advice if you are not sure about what to do. It will also help ensure A&E departments and emergency ambulance services are used only for those patients who need them in a life-threatening emergency.

Q. Why would I phone 111? What help can I get? Do I call this number instead of my GP or 999? During the working week (8.00am-6.30pm, Monday to Friday), your own GP practice is available in the usual way and this will continue to be the main service that patients routinely use. There is no change in how and when you access your own GP during those hours. Some people don’t realise that, outside of these hours and on Bank Holidays, there are always GPs and other health professionals available to respond to urgent issues for patients who can’t wait until their GP practice re-opens. By linking NHS Direct Wales with GP out-of-hours, 111 Wales will be able to offer a range of health information, advice and urgent treatment when your condition or issue is urgent but not life-threatening. Remember, 999 should only ever be used when there is a life-threatening emergency. So if it is not an emergency, use 111.

Q. Who will I speak to? Will they know what they are talking about or will they just rely on computer software? If you call 111, you will initially speak to a trained call taker. All of our call takers undergo extensive training and education and they will ask you a series of short questions and take basic details (including your name, address, date of birth and so on) so that health care professionals such as doctors and nurses can focus on the clinical assessment. This will help us prioritise the urgency of calls so that the sickest people get treated first.

Q. Will I get the help I need straight away or a call back/doctor’s appointment/ambulance? Depending on the urgency and severity of your call, you may speak to a health care professional, who could be a nurse, pharmacist or a doctor. Sometimes it may be necessary for you to speak to more than one person to get the right treatment but we will keep this to an absolute minimum so you get to speak with the right health care professional first time. If your need is urgent and requires you to see a GP out-of-hours, you will be asked to attend a primary care centre based at our hospital sites, as is the case currently. However, for the majority of conditions, our highly skilled nurses or pharmacists will be able to deal with many cases. Our call takers are trained to recognise when there is a threat to life; if you dial 111 but do need an ambulance, you will be put through to the emergency ambulance service.

Q. What are the benefits to patients and what are the benefits to the NHS? The main benefit to patients is that for the first time, you will have access to a range of services by dialing a single free-to-call number that will make it easier for you to get the right service. This supports the wider campaign encouraging patients to ‘Choose Well’ and helps to keep our emergency departments (EDs, or also known as A&E) and 999 service for those who really need them. The other benefit is that sometimes patients think EDs are the only place available, especially at night or weekends. Ringing 111 will help to signpost patients to the right place.

Q. I live in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, but every time I try and ring the 111 number from my mobile, I’m being told that the service isn’t available in my area. Why is that? If the ‘Wi-Fi Calling’ feature is enabled on your mobile phone, it could be interfering with your location when trying to ring the 111 service. You will need to turn off Wi-Fi Calling before dialing, to ensure that we can determine your correct location. To turn off Wi-Fi Calling, you’ll need to change the settings in your phone. The process is slightly different for each phone, so please contact your service provider for help on how to do this.

Q. Will I be able to talk to someone in Welsh if I want to? Yes, the first message that you will hear when dialing 111 asks you to make a choice about whether you want to continue the call in English or in Welsh. NHS 111 employs a number of Welsh speakers, so you will usually be able to conduct the initial discussion in Welsh. There may be occasions where this is not possible, but we will always endeavour to meet your preference, and with additional staff coming into the service, we hope these occasions will be very rare.

Q. I live outside of Wales but I may need to contact the service on behalf of a relative who lives in the ABUHB area. What do I do? If you ring 111 from outside of Wales, you will be routed to your local 111 service, which will be unable to transfer your call to a 111 Wales centre. In these circumstances, please ring your relative’s GP Practice and follow the instructions on the answerphone message.

Q. I live in the ABUHB area but work in Cardiff. What happens if I wanted to ring 111 whilst at work? As the 111 service isn’t yet available in the Cwm Taf/ Cardiff & Vale Health Board areas, you should ring your GP, which will provide you with an alternative number to call (if it was outside the Monday to Friday, 8:0018:30 window).

Q. What happens if I don’t speak English or Welsh? If you don’t speak English, we will still be able to help you. We use a service called ‘Language Line’ and this enables us to have a three-way phone call with an interpreter so that we can still provide the help that you need.

Q. What happens if I am deaf? The InterpreterNow service, which is available 7 days a week, between 8am and midnight, is available for deaf (and hearing) British Sign Language [BSL] users to communicate with hearing people via an online BSL interpreter. InterpreterNow can be accessed using a computer, or via the InterpreterNow app on your smartphone or tablet. Once you have contacted the InterpreterNow service, the interpreter will contact us by telephone and relay your conversation with a member of our team e.g. a Nurse Advisor or a Health Information Adviser, depending on what the problem is. You will be asked a series of questions to assess your needs, and then will be provided with the appropriate healthcare advice or directed to the local service that can help you best.

Q. Where is the money for this coming from? Welsh Government has funded the implementation and set-up costs for the first few 111 pilot sites in Wales. Each Health Board in Wales is now directly contributing to the implementation costs of 111 and further roll-outs across Wales, but overall this represents a direct increase in funding to 111, NHS Direct and out-of-hours services for Welsh patients.

Q. Is there a website available? The current NHS Direct Wales website at is available. This provides information on local services, as well as comprehensive information on health issues. There are also ‘symptom checkers’ on a range of common health problems.

Q. Where is the call centre based? Why are we ringing a 111 call centre rather than the local out of hours services where they understand the local community and local services? 111 Wales has call centres in Cwmbran, Swansea, Bangor and Haverfordwest. Each of these have access to a directory of local services and will be able to give you the same level of care and advice. NHS 111 Wales is also ensuring ongoing training and development for staff to familiarise themselves with each area that forms part of the NHS 111 service, and they already have experience of doing this in a number of Health Board areas. The out of hours services will continue to provide local care when needed.

Q. Who runs the 111 phone line? NHS 111 in Wales is run by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Q. I have heard that 111 leads to an increase in the number of referrals to ambulance services. Is this the case? NHS 111 Wales already has significant experience of providing 111 services in Swansea, Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire, Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, and this has not led to an increased demand on ambulance services.

Q. What do local GPs think of the changeover? Do they support it? Local GPs have been actively involved in designing the service and quite a few have worked directly within the Clinical Support Hub. We maintain close links with primary care teams and to date there have been no concerns raised by GPs about the 111 Wales service.

Q. Who do I complain to if I have a concern about 111 and my out of hours care? If you have a concern about the service received from 111, please contact the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust Putting Things Right team at or by calling 0300 321 321 1. If you have a concern about the service received from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board GP Out of Hours Service, please contact the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Putting Things Right Team at or by calling 01495 745656.

The Community Health Council (CHC) exists to represent and protect public interests in NHS services by monitoring the quality of care, seeking redress where appropriate and acting as a source of information for local people. They are available to advise and provide assistance to anyone with a suggestion or concern about the health service.

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Feeling Poorly?

There are lots of ways for you to get the medical advice and treatment you need without seeing your GP.

Frontline Staff in GP Surgeries across Gwent have been trained as Care Navigators.

What does this mean?

With effect from 7th May 2019, when you call your GP surgery, staff will be able to signpost you to the right care. This might not always be an appointment with the GP.

Care Navigators are here to help you choose the right support that will help you or a loved one feel better, faster.


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My Health Online (MHOL)


My Health Online (MHOL) is a new online service brought to you from NHS Wales. MHOL Offers patients the convenience to book appointments using the internet.

Abersychan Group practice also gives the patients the option to Cancel appointments and also order repeat prescriptions.

To protect patient confidentiality, you must provide documents so we can make sure you are who you say you are. This is a requirement from NHS Wales and not the practice.

When you next visit the practice, please pick up the appropriate forms (one for each member of the family), which should be completed and returned to the practice along with identification (preferably Photo ID incl driving licence or passport).

You will be given an activation code, which must be used within 48hrs to activate your account. If you are having issues, you should contact Reception in the first instance. Depending on the problem(s), you may be given another number to contact an IT Engineer within the NHS who will be able to help you out.

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01633 744 285


0845 46 47


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Due to Patient Safety issues, we employ a Prescribing Clerk. This person is the only person in the practice who will be dealing with all aspects of repeat prescriptions apart from our GPs. No other member of staff has the security clearance to deal with such requests.

We strongly advise that you give our prescribing clerk 48hrs notice to enable her to re-issue the prescription via our GP’s. You must ensure that your request is done via the white page of your previous prescription, simply by ticking the boxes of the required items. Failing that, you must put the request in writing. If need be, you can send your request via the post (or posted through our door, or left in the box in Reception) using a Stamped Adressed Evnvelope (SAE) to ensure that we can post the prescription back to you. This will then be sent to our prescribing clerk whose responsibility it is to deal with the request. Under no circumstances can we accept a request over the phone.

If using a chemist to order your prescription, we advise that you give them 5 days notice to ensure the order is ready to collect.

We politely remind patients that it is their own responsibility to ensure they order repeat medication in time before they run out. We ask that you do not take your frustrations out on our staff because of something that you have forgotten.

Prescriptions will be ready for collection after 2pm on the due day (48hrs later).

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With immediate effect, this surgery is no longer a designated Yellow Fever (YF) vaccination centre. This means that although we can still administer travel vaccinations, we are no longer allowed to administer the YF vaccine. Our Practice Nurses can still advise on Travel vaccines but it is now the travellers responsibility to receive the YF vaccine from another vaccine centre.

As the YF vaccine centres can often change, we suggest that you go online to find one in your area. A few contact details are as follows:

Boots (Queen Street Cardiff), 029 2023 1291

MASTA (work with Boots as above) 0330 100 4150

Nomad Clinic (Wharton St, Cardiff) 01341 555 061

Costs of the vaccine(s) will need to be discussed with the individual Centres.

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Garndiffaith Branch Site “Same Day” Appointments

Following complaints from a number of Garndiffaith based patients, the way to book an appointment at Garndiffaith is as follows:

If you require a Same Day appointment (both morning and afternoon) at our Garndiffaith site, you will need to call (or visit) our Main Abersychan site from 8am where these shall be released on a “First Come, First Served” basis. You can call the Abersychan Surgery on 01495 772 239.

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Repeat Prescriptions

Please be aware that under the General Medical Services (GMS) Agreement 2004, we have 48 hours (two days) in which to prepare a repeat medication request. This means that for example, if you request a prescription in a Tuesday, it WILL NOT be ready until the Thursday. The  48 hours (two days) are working days and DO NOT include weekends and/or Bank Holidays.

It is the patient’s responsibility to ensure that the request is handed in on time. There is no need to request the medication more than a week in advance, as the request WILL NOT be actioned. If you are going on holiday etc, this needs to be clearly marked on the request.

One of the biggest delays in handling requests is that some patients believe that because they have been prescribed a medication once, they can then ask for more of the same medication as and when they feel they need or want it. THIS IS WRONG! Whether or not you are able to have repeat medication is discussed with your GP and it is clearly marked on your WHITE (Right had side) of your prescription. It has boxes on it, which enables you to tick the boxes, as and when you require to have those repeated (hence the name a Repeat Prescription). This white part also carries important information to you.the patient i.e when your medication review is due etc. If a medication you have had IS NOT on the white part, then it has not been marked up as a repeat medication by your GP. PLEASE DO NOT LET YOUR CHEMIST KEEP THIS WHITE PART UNLESS YOU ARE HAPPY FOR THEM TO HAVE IT AND YOU HAVE CHECKED IT FOR ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION.

We DO NOT accept repeat medication requests over the phone. We MUST either have the white tear off part of your last prescription or have the request in writing. If posting to us, you MUST sent us a stamped addressed envelope (SAE) if you want it posted back to you (please give 5 days notice by post) or it must CLEARLY be marked up as to which Chemist you want it to go to. If no SAE is revieved, you prescription will be sat at Reception, waiting for you to collect.

This Practice deals with around 350 Repeat Prescription requests on a DAILY basis, so can we politely ask you NOT to put pressure on our Reception Staff to get your signed “Here and Now”. If you need it by a certain date or time, then please ensure you put the request in on time.

Many thanks for your anticipated help and understanding.

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Practice Closures

From time to time, the Practice may have to close. This will depend on whether it is for Staff Training, which is normally for 1 hour over lunch or if a GP Network Meeting is being held.

Staff Training is approved by the Health Board. We must provide the Health Board with details of the training and who is taking part, so it is not simply just a case of closing the doors to catch up with work. The Health Board also insist that although the door may be closed, we must still accept incoming phone calls, so you still have the ability to contact the surgery.

GP Network Meeting are organised by the Health Board. This will always include ALL GP Surgeries within Torfaen, when they all meet up to go through various training topics. Gwent Out Of Hours will normally take all URGENT calls for that afternoon. If your request is NOT Urgent may we suggest that if it cannot wait until the next working day but you need Health Advice, you should contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

Once again, we shall always try our best to advertise when these practice closures will take place.

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Equipment Fund

In the past patients have asked if they can donate money to the practice. Any such donations are collected in our practice equipment fund. This fund is used directly to buy equipment that is used by our team in the management of patient care. A recent example was a donation for an oxygen meter so that both surgeries now have at least one oxygen meter that can be used in the assessment of patients with breathing difficulties. If you wish to donate to this fund please contact our Practice Manager.

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