16 March: A new multiple-choice entry system provides options for people who want to "find out more about coronavirus symptoms, testing and isolation” and “book a coronavirus vaccination or find out about side effects”. These visitors are directed to the NHS website for information. Anyone who selects "see if my symptoms could be coronavirus (COVID-19)" can complete a triage for symptoms associated with coronavirus. Because the interactive process applies to all 111 online journeys, the 111.nhs.uk/covid-19 URL is redirected to the new, simplified service homepage (111.nhs.uk) and the COVID-19 banner is removed.
1 March: After almost a year the warning "Do not go to your GP surgery. Phone them instead" is removed from primary-care outcome screens. However, patients who need help from their GP but report symptoms of coronavirus are still instructed to disclose them when they contact their surgery.
12 February: Extra advice added across the site when telling a patient "It's unlikely you have COVID-19". The advice acknowledges that "Some people test positive for coronavirus with other symptoms, but current government guidance is that you need to have" a high temperature or a new, continuous cough or a 'loss or change to your sense taste or smell'.
5 February: Start page of the 111 online coronavirus service updated with additional topics covered on the NHS website. People who visit 111.nhs.uk/covid-19 but have no symptoms are advised to follow a link to NHS.UK/coronavirus where information is available on new topics like vaccinations and long-term effects of coronavirus (long COVID).
8 January 2021: Advice updated for people seeking urgent dental help during the pandemic. Since the capacity of different practices to see patients safely varies widely, the alert box now says, ‘Do not visit your usual dentist without calling or emailing them first’. Those without a dentist are directed to find one on the NHS website.
30 December 2020: To ensure people using a pulse oximeter to monitor their blood oxygen levels can find the right advice, new search terms are added to 111 online to help them find the right topic.
23 December: In response to greater primary-care help for patients with mild symptoms of coronavirus, the online service updates its advice for these individuals. Patients with mild symptoms are no longer advised to ‘Book a call with a 111 nurse’; instead they are told either to ‘Contact your GP as soon as you can’ or to ‘Contact your GP when they are next open’.
17 December: More support is introduced for people who use a pulse oximeter to monitor their blood oxygen levels, particularly patients in the COVID oximeter @ home programme. Users who report symptoms of coronavirus and have a low blood oxygen reading can now receive additional help by booking a call with a clinician.
11 December: As areas seek to limit A&E visits to necessary patients during the pandemic, more sites activate a 111 online feature that lets patients review their symptoms over the phone with a clinician before attending a service. 111 online updates how it presents this option to users: ‘To help with social distancing, and avoid overcrowding in A&E, we’re asking people to book a call to speak to a nurse first’.
7 December: Because procedures to monitor travellers from Denmark for a new type of coronavirus detected in mink have been stood down, the alert screen at the start of the service, asking people who 'have travelled from Denmark in the last 2 weeks' to call 111, is removed.
24 November: New options and advice added to help patients in the COVID Oximetry @home programme. Coronavirus patients who are supported by remote monitoring via a pulse oximeter device can choose 'Blood oxygen level', if they visit 111.nhs.uk/covid-19 because of a concerning reading. They will then see advice on what action they should take based on their device's reading.
13 November: In response to a new type of coronavirus detected in mink on some Danish farms, an alert screen is added at the start of the service. People with coronavirus symptoms who 'have travelled from Denmark in the last 2 weeks' are advised to call 111 instead of using the online service.
3 and 4 November: To prevent crowding at A&Es during the coronavirus pandemic, 111 online releases a new capability to allow patients to select an arrival time, when they need to visit an emergency service. Throughout the winter, hospital trusts will activate online booking, when ready. On 4 November Hull Royal Infirmary Emergency Department became the first hospital to let online patients 'Book a time'.
14 August: Onward links to Get text messages from the NHS about coronavirus (COVID-19) are removed after this service was decommissioned.
19 June: Effective content and designs from the COVID-19 online assessment are used to improve the larger 111 online service. Instructions and page layouts developed to direct patients to book a call with the COVID clinical response service are applied to similar pages that appear when a patient’s symptoms indicate they should 'Book a call with a 111 nurse'.
18 June: Because clinically vulnerable patients need to continue avoiding unnecessary contact with people outside their household, questions on the online coronavirus service that ask whether patients 'had been advised to shield by the NHS' are updated to remove mention of the original 12-week shielding time frame.
15 June: Following the government decision to let people living alone join support bubbles, 111 online updates its self-isolation instructions to say 'Anyone you live with, or are in a support bubble with, needs to isolate too'.
11 June: Checks for coronavirus are made a routine part of the core 111 online service. By upgrading to NHS Pathways release 19.3.9, more online patients are screened for signs of coronavirus symptoms as a matter of course. Patients no longer need to choose the separate online COVID-19 assessment. Users who search for topics like ‘coronavirus’ or click on links to 111.nhs.uk/covid-19 see a guided selection page that takes them through a Pathways triage for their main symptom.
7 June: Google embeds the NHS 111 online coronavirus service in a new 'self-assessment' knowledge panel. UK users see the panel when they search for information about COVID-19. Clicking the panel directs them to 111.nhs.uk/COVID-19.
30 May: As contact tracing expands in the UK, 111 online adds new information at the start of its coronavirus service for people who need to use the Get an isolation note service after being contacted by a test and trace service. Links to the de-commissioned service Tell the NHS about your current experience of coronavirus are also removed.
29 May: Changes made to the COVID-19 online assessment to help adults reporting complex symptoms access care faster. The COVID clinical response service will attend to patients with symptoms of coronavirus sooner, if they answer yes both to feeling cool or clammy and to feeling short of breath.
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 coronavirus cases.