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NHS 111 survey reveals callers pleased with the service

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.

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13 comments

  1. Nicola rahman says:

    My 2year old son was diagnosed with a chest infection he had antibiotics and steroid tablets given two days before I rang them. I rang 111 as he had a persistent cough. and the four hourly inhalers were not relieving his symptoms and he was sleepy 111 told me to wait for another day and speak to my GP as’inhalers are not there to treat a cough’
    Good job we didn’t listen his sats went to 89 temp 40 and he was rushed in a ambulance to Gloucester royal hospital hes currently on antibiotics oxygen, steroids Never using this system again, how many children have to die before they have more qualified staff? This one size fits all questions is simply not working.

    • NHS England says:

      Hi Nicola,

      We are very sorry to hear of your experience of the NHS 111 service. If you would like to contact the local NHS 111 provider to have your concerns fully investigated, please contact us with your postcode details so that we can refer you to the relevant local service. You can email us at England.nhs111@nhs.net.

      Kind Regards
      NHS England

  2. Geoff says:

    So far I have been waiting 6 hours for a call back. It’s no wonder people turn up at A & E with minor ailments when this poor service is the only alternative for out of hours medical assistance. Today it has effectively acted as a barrier to getting treatment.

    • NHS England says:

      Hi Geoff,

      We are very sorry to hear of the delay you experienced with the service. At times of peak demand some callers may experience longer waits as patients are prioritized based on whether their condition requires immediate attention or requires emergency services.

      Kind Regards
      NHS England

  3. Kirsty says:

    Over the Easter Bank holiday I rang 111 on behalf of my mother.
    I first rang on Saturday 27th March 2016 at around 18:00 to be told they could not deal with me as I was not the patient.
    I then rang on Sunday 28th March and we got through. However unfortunately the service let us down. Mum was advised to go to A&E, even though we did mentioned we did not mind a doctor to come out and visit. They mentioned we should have an ambulance and promised one within the hour. 2 and half later the ambulance arrived. In that period we had to ring 999 twice to locate it and 111 three times. When they realised the ambulance was delayed they advised my mum to take codeine which actually made her situation worse and lie on her front which she could not do due to major hip operation which she just came out of hospital. They did not listen to what we were saying and we felt they were unexperienced.
    Credit to the RBH A&E department and the ambulance service who were both horrified with the information were told by 111.

  4. Ian Veitch says:

    I have found it necessary to call NHS 111 on three separate occasions this month ( March) with regard to my wife. The service I received has been exemplary. From the lady who took the initial call to the nurse who attended my wife the care and attention has been excellent.
    Should the need to contact them ever arise again I will have no hesitation in doing so.
    My grateful thanks to all.

  5. Carla says:

    Nhs 111 is the worse place to ring, they should of kept it on where we could ring emergency doctors by ourself!! I rang for an emergency for my 5 yet old daughter! They only had an appointment 6/7 hour later didn’t treat her as an emergency and was very rude it was discusting due to neglect my daughters condition got worse and got rushed in as emergency on Monday morning and given loads of medication , she woke up with survier swelling to her eyes and face! Bad temperature I am so discusted to say there supposed to give you the best care!! Rediculous , horrible customer service will Deffo be seeking advice to complain further!!! Discusting children should have priority

    • NHS England says:

      Hi Carla,

      We are very sorry to hear of your experience, if you would like to email us at England.nhs111@nhs.net with your postcode details we will put you in touch with your local NHS 111 Provider who will investigate this matter fully for you.

      Kind Regards
      NHS England

  6. Jocelyn Ponting says:

    I had need to call 111 last autumn. There have been quite cosiderable bad comments recently. I have huge sympathy for the complainants BUT we, including111 are only human.

    I had amazing service and would never hesitate to use it again or recommend anyone else to use it.

    A first responder appeared like lightening an ammbulance later on. The crew were caring and efficient.

    I could not fault the service. Thank you from Jocelyn Ponting

    Thank you. Jocelyn Ponting

  7. I had to use 111 for the first time ever this morning I found the staff to be very helpful courteous and asked appropriate questions
    They ordered a ambulance for my husband and it arrived in less than under a hour
    It was not a emergency
    Thank you for your service I won’t hesitate to call again
    This was in Berkshire

  8. Elisa says:

    I wish to say I have received generally excellent treatment so far from the 111 service at a time when my GPs were offering no help whatsoever.
    I have heard that paediatrician Neena Modi has questioned whether England’s NHS 111 helpline is safe and effective for young children. She has admitted even clinicians would find it hard to assess small children by phone. What about the GPs and other doctors who actually saw the child in the recent sepsis case and failed to spot his condition was deteriorating? She hasnt said much about this. As a pharmacist I know how easy it is to criticise services with easy access. We always have WHICH magazine on our case. Doctors who make mistakes just hide behind confidential medical records.
    We all need to improve our services when necessary as needs to happen after this recent tragic case. The press and TV have very much concentrated on the mistakes made by the 111 service and not the mistakes made by the GPs and other doctors involved. I have heard this morning that the 111 service have made a reply to the comments made by Neena Modi. Please keep this up as you have not been fairly treated.’’

  9. Tim Sanders says:

    16% of callers not getting what they needed, and 20% who wouldn’t use 111 again, is still significant. Not having your needs met by urgent care is likely to be an unhappy experience for this minority of callers. I’m sure we’re aiming higher !

  10. SickAndFedUp says:

    It is interesting that this positive survey of NHS 111 in North West London is published by NHS England on the same day that the result of the Mansfield Enquiry into healthcare in North West London is announced. Does Jeremy Hunt have anything to do with this?