Not emergency? Phone NHS 111
Patients needing medical help or advice will soon have a new freephone number to call.
NHS 111 is intended to make it quicker and easier for people to get non-emergency medical help.
The number, which is due to be rolled out across the country on April 1, will be available 24 hours a day.
It replaces GP out-of-hours numbers and NHS Direct.
Calls will be answered by trained staff supported by a team of nurses.
Dr Chris Hewitt, NHS 111 clinical lead for Leicestershire and Rutland, said: "This is about making it easier to access healthcare services.
"Simply by calling 111, patients will be asked a few key questions to clarify the medical problem and then be directed to the most appropriate service which meets their needs."
The person taking the call will be able to arrange for the patient to be seen by the out-of-hours service or make sure they get to an accident and emergency department, if necessary.
The call handlers will also be able to advise patients on whether they can wait to see their GP in the morning.
Referrals can be made to emergency dentists and pharmacies.
Derbyshire Healthcare United will provide the call centre services and the contract will last for nine months.
Organisations will then be invited to bid to run both the out-of-hours service and call handling service.
Lindsey Wallis, chief executive at Derbyshire Healthcare United, a not-for-profit social enterprise, said: "Our aim is to provide an efficient, quality and clinically safe service to all."
Health campaigner Zuffar Haq said: "I think this 111 number is a great idea.
"Hopefully, it will effectively reduce the number of people who end up in the accident and emergency department at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
"It will be of great benefit to elderly patients with complicated medical conditions.
"If they can get help easily and early, hopefully, it will help to keep them out of hospital.
"The last place people, particularly the elderly, want to end up is hospital and I hope this 111 scheme will help to achieve this.
"Where this 111 number has already been used in other parts of the country, it has been working well.
"I hope it does the same here."