NHS England response to Sheffield University two year old study into 111

The Sheffield University study took place in the original four pilot NHS 111 areas and its results were used to design the current service. However, the study is now significantly out of date and is not directly comparable to the current 111 service.

NHS 111 provides a good service to the public and more people are getting access and using the service.

The latest data published on the performance of NHS 111 proves this – 93 percent of the population of England now have access to NHS111.  Calls are answered promptly with 97.1 percent of callers answered within 60 seconds and of all calls offered only 0.7 percent were abandoned after waiting longer than 30 seconds . More people than ever called 111 – 585,305 calls were made to the service in September 2013 and levels of satisfaction  remain high.

The Sheffield study looked a very low volume of calls. Only 400,000 calls were offered to 111 for the first year of the study, whereas 111 is now being offered  around 600,000 calls a month.

There is now no evidence that 111 is increasing A&E attendances – in fact attendances in areas with 111 for the most recent 12 months compared to 12 months earlier is down by 0.2%. Ambulances dispatched from 111 transport the same proportion of patients to hospital as those dispatched by 999 – showing the service is appropriately sending ambulances.  And a recent survey conducted by the NHS Confederation showed 79% of NHS Confederation members say that NHS 111 is not a big cause of A&E pressures.

Evidence shows that the current NHS 111 service  is already becoming a powerful tool to redirect patients from A&E and 999 to less acute services. The patient satisfaction survey shows that 20% of callers would have gone to A&E if 111 were not available, only 7% of triaged calls are recommended to attend A&E.

Patient satisfaction remains extremely high as the service has been rolled out nationally with 92% of people very or fairly satisfied with their 111 experience.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh’s urgent and emergency care review recognised the value of NHS 111 and the service is therefore to be enhanced.

NHS England is investing  an additional £15m to support NHS 111 through winter when it will be a key part of local, urgent and emergency care services.

Here is a link to our latest press release on NHS 111 and the latest statistics on NHS 111 can be found here.