THE delayed roll out of NHS 111 phone line in North Wales, branded a disgrace.

Aberconwy MS, Janet Finch-Saunders, has spoken of her dismay the non emergency telephone service will not be fully established in North Wales until 2022.

While 999 should always be dialled in emergencies, the NHS 111 advice service is designed to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing health information, advice and access to urgent out-of-hours primary care.

Mrs Finch-Saunders said: “I have received a number of complaints from confused constituents who have been directed towards the NHS 111 service to find the non emergency medical advice service remains unavailable for North Wales. To now learn of a delay to the national roll out of this service is, frankly, not good enough.

"This is an incredible disappointment, especially as residents had been been informed that the service would be rolled out for the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board (BCUHB) area in 2021.

"That the alternative non emergency advice number continues to charge residents of North Wales is also a disgrace.

"It means that those isolated and elderly residents, without routine access to the computer, will continue to be charged to access an essential health helpline to get the advice they require.

“The NHS 111 helpline is a vital telephone service that many of my most vulnerable residents are desperate to utilise.

"I urge the Welsh Health Minister to look again at these plans to ensure the original promised time frame can actually be delivered.”

The service brings NHS Direct Wales, GP Out of Hours call handling and triage into a single service.

It differs from other UK models by having a greater proportion of clinical staff within it.