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NHS 111 has received excellent satisfaction ratings in a new service evaluation survey.
Led by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health RCPCH , in partnership with NHS England, The Health Foundation and the Picker Institute, the review of 111 services in North West London revealed 84% of people calling the helpline ‘got what they needed’, while 80% said they would call NHS 111 again if they had the same problem.
The review investigated calls made to NHS 111 by parents and carers living in North West London.
One stage involved surveying 1,000 parents and carers who rang NHS 111 between March and June 2015. In another stage, the feasibility of linking NHS 111 calls with out of hours GP and secondary care services was studied.
Dr Ossie Rawstorne, NHS England’s National medical Advisor to NHS 111 said he was delighted with the findings, saying: “This is a very encouraging report on a survey of a substantial number of calls over several months.
“It is good that the public are using NHS 111 effectively and parents, in particular, feel confident in both the service generally and in our call handlers, and would use the service again.
“This is good news as we go into winter when we know NHS 111 does an even greater job in helping to alleviate growing pressures on our frontline A&E and ambulance services.”
Dr Sam Shah, NHS England’s Clinical Lead for the 111 Learning and Development Programme, added: “The RCPCH and their partners are dedicated to evidence based practice and the development of our healthcare system.
“The collaboration that undertook this evaluation were focussed on learning from patient experiences to improve the journey through the healthcare system.
“Learning, development and research are central to delivering change in the NHS which is something that the RCPCH and their partners are committed to.”
The survey also reveals how the 111 service continues to take pressures off frontline A&E and ambulance services.
A total of 6,120 calls – that involved a child with fever, breathlessness, constipation or vomiting and diarrhoea – received between April 2013 and February 2015 were analysed.
The findings, published in a report entitled: ‘The use of primary and secondary care services by children and young people following contact with NHS 111: investigating the patient experience and flow of four common conditions’, found that of 1,000 parents and carers interviewed via telephone:
- Almost all parents felt listened to (93%)
- Over three quarters had confidence and trust in the first person they spoke to (78%)
- Over two thirds were given enough information to assist them (72%)
- The most common reason for calling NHS 111 rather than using another service was it was out of hours (53%), 20% called for advice or reassurance and 13% because the illness was not urgent enough to ring 999
- 33% of callers were given advice on how to look after the problem themselves, 23% were told to go to another urgent care service such as walk-in clinic and an appointment at an urgent care service was made for 20% by the NHS 111 health advisor
- 91% fully followed the advice or action received from NHS 111
- Of the 84 people who did not follow advice, a third (33%) stated the main action they took instead was to go to another urgent care service
Dr Ian Maconochie, clinical lead for the NHS 111 review for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “It’s encouraging to see that so many of the parents and carers using NHS 111 find the service helpful and more importantly, would use it again.
“It is also encouraging to see that 91% of people using the service fully followed advice. This means that the service is doing what it was designed to – treating patients in the most appropriate clinical setting and relieving pressure on other parts of the health service under strain.
“It is important now that with the winter season upon us and an expected rise in the number of patients admitted to hospital over the coming months, that more people are made aware of the NHS 111 helpline. Only by sharing the positive experiences of our North London callers and encouraging more people right across the country to make the most of this important service, will we really begin to ensure that all children receive high quality care at the right place and at the right time.
The report found that of the 6,120 calls linked to data from out of hours GP and secondary care services:
- Call volumes were highest outside normal office hours and for each of the four conditions. there was at least a 99% increase in daily call volume on Saturdays and Sundays compared with during weekdays.
- Majority of patients were advised to visit GP or local services (77%), 19% advised to speak to but not visit their GP and very few patients were advised to go to ED (1%).
- Although only 1% (66) of people were advised to go to ED, 440 patients visited ED within three hours of call.
- Over 95% of the patients attending ED had been advised by NHS 111 to follow-up with their GP.