Why can’t I use SMS text messaging to access NHS 111?

All providers of NHS 111 follow a national service specification set by NHS England. This includes complying with the national telephony infrastructure and NHS Pathways algorithm platform. At present these systems are not technically compatible with SMS messaging options and therefore this isn’t something that any NHS 111 service provider can offer and means SMS access is not part of the national service specification.

The NHS 111 service may also require a number of detailed questions which may not be suitable for an SMS system. To ensure people who have difficulties communicating due to sensory disability have access to NHS 111, a range of alternatives are available including:

  1. A British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting service for NHS 111 using video relay technology offering app and browser based access
  2. Call 18001 111 on a textphone
  3. Next Generation Text Relay to NHS 111
  4. NHS 111 online 111.nhs.uk
  5. Emergency text facility through 999.