Around 3,800 people each weekday and 13,000 on a weekend in Yorkshire and the Humber now receive urgent health advice over the phone via the NHS 111 service, according to latest NHS data.
Ahead of the busy festive season, an NHS campaign is encouraging people to take advantage of health advice by phone, with the latest statistics showing that more people than ever are receiving advice from the NHS 111 service.
A new ‘Help Us, Help You’ winter campaign for 2018/19, which includes 111 advertising, has been designed to ensure people know where to access the most appropriate service when they need it.
Offering expert advice to people seeking help over the phone is a core part of improving access to urgent NHS help, and reducing pressure on A&E services, as the NHS continues to develop a long-term plan for care.
All calls answered by NHS 111 are handled by fully trained staff who can advise, signpost to local services such as pharmacists, or arrange appointments for further assessment. Increasing numbers of callers now also receive clinical advice directly from a clinical professional where appropriate for their condition.
The proportion of telephone calls receiving direct input from clinicians has been steadily increasing every month since data was first collected in November 2016. During November 2018, only one in ten callers to 111 was advised to visit A&E, while almost 15% were reassured that they need not attend any further NHS service.
In addition, people can now use the NHS 111 online service at https://111.nhs.uk/
Sally Bell, Senior Assurance Manager for NHS England in Yorkshire and the Humber said: “Every day in Yorkshire, thousands of people find NHS 111 offers expert advice without the need to visit A&E.
“Over the winter months, where pressure on services is at its highest, anyone in need of help for a life-threatening emergency can continue to get help at their A&E, but with 1.7 million people in Yorkshire and the Humber using NHS 111 in the past year alone, it’s clear that there are safe alternatives to A&E for less severe issues.
“As part of the long-term plan for the health service, the NHS in England is rapidly expanding access to urgent and emergency care by increasing community services, investing in the most up-to-date technology and improving over the phone advice, which will mean more people get the right care, at the right time while reducing the pressure on ambulance and A&E services.”
Members of the public called the NHS 111 service in England over 1.4 million times in November 2018, 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 16.6 million calls nationally 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.
Keeley Townend, Associate Director of Integrated Urgent Care at Yorkshire Ambulance Service which operates the regional NHS 111 service, said:
“NHS 111 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and our fully trained staff can provide advice to help patients and refer them on to healthcare professionals, including nurses, paramedics and pharmacists, as appropriate to their needs.
“There is also the NHS 111 online service, 111.nhs.uk, where people can obtain advice to help them if they are feeling unwell.
“When someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk people should continue to dial 999 for emergency assistance.”