Around 4000 people per day in the North West, now receive urgent health advice over the phone via the NHS 111 service, according to latest NHS data.
Ahead of the busy winter months, people are being encouraged to take advantage of health advice by phone, as well as the new 111 on-line service, with the latest stats showing that more people than ever are receiving advice from a clinician when they dial 111.
While all calls answered by NHS 111 are handled by fully trained staff who can advise, signpost to local services or arrange appointments for further assessment, increasing numbers of callers now also receive clinical advice directly from a clinical professional.
The proportion of telephone calls receiving direct input from doctors, nurses and other clinicians has been steadily increasing every month and figures show that over half of those who used the 111 phone service in North West this October received expert assessment from a clinical professional.
Dr Kieran Murphy, Medical Director, NHS England for Cheshire and Merseyside and Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “Every day in the North West, thousands of people find NHS 111 offers expert advice without the need to visit A&E. Last year 2 million people in the North West used NHS 111.
“Over the winter months, where pressure on services is at its highest, it’s clear that there are safe alternatives to A&E for less severe issues. This helps to reduce pressure on A&E and ambulance services, to ensure people with a life-threatening emergency get treatment as quickly as possible.”
Ivan Ward is a paramedic with 11 years experience and is now an NHS 111 Clinical Advisor. He said: “NHS 111 is much more than a helpline. You can speak to fully trained advisors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who can put you in touch with relevant healthcare professionals, including nurses, paramedics, emergency dentists, or even GPs. The service is also available now on-line at 111.nhs.uk.”
“People should continue to dial 999 in a medical emergency – when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.”
Members of the public called the NHS 111 service in England over 1.3 million times in October, an increase of 6% compared with the same time last year. 38,500 people received help via the phone line each day last month, contributing to the total of around 16.5 million calls to 111 in the past twelve months.
The most recent patient survey results from the service also suggest 111 is beginning to ease the pressure on frontline services.
More than one in four people said they would have gone to A&E and 16% said they would have called an ambulance had 111 not been available.
You can meet Ivan and some of his colleagues at: youtu.be/UVcqHfOOm9k