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NHS 111 online coronavirus service

We are continually updating the NHS 111 online service to help people who might have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The NHS 111 online coronavirus service allows people to check if they have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Anyone can visit 111.nhs.uk/COVID-19, answer a few questions about their symptoms, and find out what to do next. At the end of the survey, people can also sign up to other digital services including the isolation note service, or learn more about coronavirus on the NHS website.

The service was launched on 26 February 2020. We continue to work with other parts of the NHS and the health and care system to ensure the coronavirus service remains up-to-date. This includes changes in response to new scientific information, government guidance and public health strategies.

Timeline of key changes to the NHS 111 online coronavirus service

Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) service began on 26 February the 111 online team has made multiple changes each week to keep it up-to-date and easy-to-use. 

Read more about how the service has developed

21 May: New instructions added to the online COVID-19 assessment for patients who are pregnant. Females who report symptoms of fever and say they are pregnant are told to call 111 in order to be checked for other conditions besides coronavirus.

18 May: A third symptom is added to the coronavirus case definition in the UK. In addition to existing questions about about high temperature and a new continuous cough the online COVID-19 assessment now asks patients, 'Have you had a new loss or change to your sense of smell or taste?'

18 May: The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announces that anyone in the UK, aged 5 and over, may request a test for coronavirus, if they have symptoms. To support this, the online COVID-19 assessment begins directing patients who report coronavirus symptoms to a new portal on NHS.UK so they can 'Ask for a coronavirus test'.

14 May: Re-designed outcome pages published. Patients who report symptoms of coronavirus are directed to self-isolation instructions and support on NHS.UK, which offer easier navigation and more detailed information.

13 May: Improved forms simplify the process for booking a call with the COVID clinical response service, when appropriate. The new process especially helps mobile devices users and people using digital accessibility tools.

6 May: Starting page reformatted to help visitors select the most appropriate service: COVID-19 symptoms assessment, coronavirus information on NHS.UK, or Get an isolation note.

30 April: Links added throughout the service advising users how to 'Get help in other languages, including British Sign Language (BSL)'.

28 April: Patients who report mild symptoms through the COVID-19 assessment are advised to book a coronavirus test on gov.uk/coronavirus. Two updates during the week reflect changing eligibility and instructions. 

23 April: A separate COVID-19 assessment for children (ages 5 to 15) is released, providing targeted support for these patients.

17 April: Infrastructure changes instituted to simplify processes for implementing future performance improvements.

14 April: Content adjustments made to clarify information and next steps on the confirmation screen shown to patients after they book a call for further clinical assessment.

9 April: COVID-19 assessment updated to add further questions about breathing difficulties.

4 April: On-screen instructions for primary care outcomes are updated. Patients are advised to telephone their healthcare practice first since many GP surgeries, dental practices, and opticians are closed.

2 April: Search engine optimisation is implemented to improve the description of 111 online in search results.

29 March: Links added to the NHS status checker. Symptomatic patients who can look after themselves are invited to report on the progress of their illness in order to help the public health response.

28 March: The coronavirus text messaging service is launched. Patients who will manage their COVID-19 symptoms at home can sign up to receive regular updates about COVID-19 by SMS.

27 March: A new question is added to the online COVID-19 assessment to identify people who have received a shielding letter from the NHS because a previous or existing health condition makes them more vulnerable to a severe COVID-19 infection.

25 March: The COVID-19 assessment advice is changed to reflect the nationwide instructions for everyone to stay at home.

24 March: A new online feature is enabled to allow patients to send an electronic referral to a pharmacy if they need urgent access to a prescription medication or appliance. This introduces another way for the online service to protect telephony services by helping people get an emergency prescription without having to ring 111.

22 March: The capability to send patient cases electronically from the NHS 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service to a clinical service for further assessment by a GP is added.

20 March: A question is added to the online COVID-19 assessment asking patients when their symptoms first began as interest increases in the potential for 111 online data to help inform the public health response.

18 March: The NHS 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service is re-tooled as the ‘delay’ strategy for managing the outbreak begins. Questions about travel and contact history are replaced by a new COVID-19 assessment that asks users if they have a new cough or fever. Anyone reporting these symptoms is assumed to be infected, so testing is no longer offered.

17 March: Revisions to COVID-19 self-care advice remove ibuprofen as a recommended treatment for symptoms as more information on the virus becomes available.

13 March: Additional keywords are introduced to make the 'COVID-19 (coronavirus)' topic easier to find using the search feature in 111 online.

10 March: The coronavirus service is made accessible within the 111 online topic search. 'COVID-19 (coronavirus)' now appears among regular search results like 'abdominal pain' or 'dizziness’.

9 and 10 March: Travel questions receive two more updates to add Iran and further parts of Italy as high-risk areas.

7 March: To support the 'containment' strategy 111 online begins offering swab tests to people who report mild symptoms of coronavirus and have travelled to a high-risk area or come into contact with a confirmed case. People with more severe symptoms are instructed to call 111.

28 February: As the outbreak spreads in Europe, the coronavirus service is updated with two new questions about new high-risk travel areas: Northern Italy and a quarantined hotel in Tenerife.

26 February: The NHS 111 online coronavirus service is launched. Initially it supported the 'containment' strategy for managing the outbreak and offered the public trusted advice without ringing 111. Users can both read general information about COVID-19 or assess their risk of infection by answering simple questions about recent travel and contact with confirmed coronavrius cases.

Sharing data from NHS 111 online coronavirus service

The NHS 111 online coronavirus service forms part of a range of work by NHS Digital to support the government response to the coronavirus outbreak. As part of this work the service collects and shares information with other parts of the NHS and health and care system. 

Coronavirus triage data based on calls to 111, 999 and NHS 111 online assessments

This data shows the latest information about the triage of coronavirus symptoms  using NHS Pathways for callers to NHS 111 and 999, and through NHS 111 online coronavirus service. It reports the triages and completed online assessments which have received a potential coronavirus (COVID-19) final disposition, from 18 March 2020.

The data shows counts of assessments, not the number of people. The data reflect signs and symptoms reported by members of the public through these channels; it is not based on outcomes from tests for coronavirus. 

Other coronavirus services connected to 111 online

After using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service, users may be offered other digital services, including the Get an isolation note service and the get text messages from the NHS about coronavirus service. 

Further information

  1. external

    NHS.UK/Coronavirus

    The NHS 111 online coronavirus service directs users to NHS.UK for more detailed information and advice.

  2. internal

    Get an isolation note service

    This service is an alternative to obtaining a GP fit note (sometimes referred to as a ‘sick note’) to prove that you or a person you care for was instructed to self-isolate.

Last edited: 21 May 2020 3:37 pm