111 calls should take pressure off hospitals

First published in News by , Assistant News Editor

A new non-emergency medical number could ease the pressure on Brighton’s strained Royal Sussex County Hospital.

The new 111 number is due to be introduced across England tomorrow and will help people in urgent need of medical help or advice but who are not facing a life-threatening 999 emergency.

The number will incorporate services already offered by NHS Direct and out-of-hours GP services, while making it easier to access local NHS healthcare services.

There have been high hopes for the service in Sussex, but after its initial implementation in some areas the British Medical Associa tion wrote to the NHS chief executive to highlight concerns.

Laurence Buckman, chairman of the GP committee, questioned the quality of advice, claimed patient safety is being put at risk and said the “chaotic mess” of the new service was straining already stretched parts of the NHS.

There have been reports of patients being unable to get through, made to wait hours and of the service effectively crashing.

Mick Lister, vice-chairman of health watchdog Brighton and Hove Link, which will be replaced by Healthwatch from tomorrow, said it was hoped the number would ease problems at the Royal Sussex.

Increasing numbers of patients being admitted to hospital and not enough people being discharged pushed the hospital to breaking point.

In February Mr Lister said: “By calling 111 you will speak to an experienced medical person who will take your details and put you through to the right out-of-hours service.

“We hope, when it’s up and running, it will ease some of the congestion at accident and emergency.”

Councillor Graham Cox, a member of Brighton and Hove City Council’s health and wellbeing overview scrutiny committee, said: “I often wondered what NHS Direct added to the service, because it seemed in the majority of cases to just advise people to go to A&E and actually add to the workloads of hospitals.

“I’m hoping 111 will be more robust. It does seem to be more locally based so I’m hoping it will be better.”

 

Comments (7)

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11:08am Sun 31 Mar 13

whereisthe...? says...

More Tory propaganda rubbish from Argus. National newspapers (PROPER ones, unlike this rag) have ALL ran stories PROVING the 111 call line IS A DANGER TO THE NATIONS HEALTH.


It has endless instances of incorrect advice, unreturned calls, etc.

Thanks to the Tories scrapping the NHS hotline and privatising it. Dont trust you childs health with these private profit seeking companies.
More Tory propaganda rubbish from Argus. National newspapers (PROPER ones, unlike this rag) have ALL ran stories PROVING the 111 call line IS A DANGER TO THE NATIONS HEALTH. It has endless instances of incorrect advice, unreturned calls, etc. Thanks to the Tories scrapping the NHS hotline and privatising it. Dont trust you childs health with these private profit seeking companies. whereisthe...?
  • Score: 0

11:58am Sun 31 Mar 13

The last temptation of crisps says...

Can Mr Lister please explain himself with regard to the comment "speak to experienced medical person..."? This appears somewhat contrary to what I've heard - aren't the private company using non-medical and inexperienced (60 hours training) call handlers?

Don't they go through an on-screen checklist with pretty much no idea of the relevance of the patient's answers?

If patients are lucky they'll then receive a call back after many hours? See what happened in Somerset?

Robust, independently gathered, evidence of what's really happening will be rarer than rocking-horse dung if past experience is anything to go by with this government.

Brighton needs to know why NHS 111 is being forced through here and around the country by the Tories - despite the pilot studies elsewhere apparently concluding it was no cheaper or better than the existing arrangements and had led to difficulties? Interesting articles in the newspapers and Health Service Journal, for example. I wonder if the 'watchdogs' have Internet access?

I don't see how anyone can try to spin this as a success and also claim to be literate.

Are patients suffering needlessly whilst waiting an age for non-clinical call handlers with little experience ot training to talk them through a checklist before hanging up?

According to some news reports that have managed to make it out people are simply being forced to turn up at A&E or dial 999.
It's already busy enough there I think, as others have pointed out.

What sanctions will the private company running these new services around the country face for failures?

Did they put in a realistic bid to do the job properly? Given the rail franchise incompetence by the government that seems optimistic to me.

Who is to be sacked if it turns out that this costs the taxpayer more whilst delivering less?

Is it still to be more mutual-appreciation groups being set up to slap each on the back in the absence of any measurable success plus some grave concerns about failures?

Is there any service or utility that the government can't balls up via a desperate fetish to privatise everything?
Can Mr Lister please explain himself with regard to the comment "speak to experienced medical person..."? This appears somewhat contrary to what I've heard - aren't the private company using non-medical and inexperienced (60 hours training) call handlers? Don't they go through an on-screen checklist with pretty much no idea of the relevance of the patient's answers? If patients are lucky they'll then receive a call back after many hours? See what happened in Somerset? Robust, independently gathered, evidence of what's really happening will be rarer than rocking-horse dung if past experience is anything to go by with this government. Brighton needs to know why NHS 111 is being forced through here and around the country by the Tories - despite the pilot studies elsewhere apparently concluding it was no cheaper or better than the existing arrangements and had led to difficulties? Interesting articles in the newspapers and Health Service Journal, for example. I wonder if the 'watchdogs' have Internet access? I don't see how anyone can try to spin this as a success and also claim to be literate. Are patients suffering needlessly whilst waiting an age for non-clinical call handlers with little experience ot training to talk them through a checklist before hanging up? According to some news reports that have managed to make it out people are simply being forced to turn up at A&E or dial 999. It's already busy enough there I think, as others have pointed out. What sanctions will the private company running these new services around the country face for failures? Did they put in a realistic bid to do the job properly? Given the rail franchise incompetence by the government that seems optimistic to me. Who is to be sacked if it turns out that this costs the taxpayer more whilst delivering less? Is it still to be more mutual-appreciation groups being set up to slap each on the back in the absence of any measurable success plus some grave concerns about failures? Is there any service or utility that the government can't balls up via a desperate fetish to privatise everything? The last temptation of crisps
  • Score: 0

12:08pm Sun 31 Mar 13

mimseycal says...

Isn't it about time this government admits that it sets no store by 'pilots schemes' and that it is merely going through the motions; so that it can eventually do exactly what it wants to do even when all indications are to the contrary?

I for one will be giving the 111 a wide berth and continue as before. Deal with issues as best I can, call the doctor when I am worried and attend hospital if I am faced with a medical emergency.
Isn't it about time this government admits that it sets no store by 'pilots schemes' and that it is merely going through the motions; so that it can eventually do exactly what it wants to do even when all indications are to the contrary? I for one will be giving the 111 a wide berth and continue as before. Deal with issues as best I can, call the doctor when I am worried and attend hospital if I am faced with a medical emergency. mimseycal
  • Score: 0

12:40pm Sun 31 Mar 13

ourcoalition says...

mimseycal wrote:
Isn't it about time this government admits that it sets no store by 'pilots schemes' and that it is merely going through the motions; so that it can eventually do exactly what it wants to do even when all indications are to the contrary?

I for one will be giving the 111 a wide berth and continue as before. Deal with issues as best I can, call the doctor when I am worried and attend hospital if I am faced with a medical emergency.
Absolutely correct - and will it work in Brighton and Hove, as many parts of the country are keeping NHSDirect, as this one "isn't quite up to speed" (doublespeak for "not working").
[quote][p][bold]mimseycal[/bold] wrote: Isn't it about time this government admits that it sets no store by 'pilots schemes' and that it is merely going through the motions; so that it can eventually do exactly what it wants to do even when all indications are to the contrary? I for one will be giving the 111 a wide berth and continue as before. Deal with issues as best I can, call the doctor when I am worried and attend hospital if I am faced with a medical emergency.[/p][/quote]Absolutely correct - and will it work in Brighton and Hove, as many parts of the country are keeping NHSDirect, as this one "isn't quite up to speed" (doublespeak for "not working"). ourcoalition
  • Score: 0

4:11pm Sun 31 Mar 13

Cass says...

I would put my faith in Laurence Buckman, chairman of the GP committee rather than a weasle who has profit in mind or the government who don't give a **** for the health of the nation. A & E's may well find themselves stretched further that ever before, That will be the vote of no confidence, what will the likes of Cameron do then? I for one won't be trusting to any 111 operative, their press is not exactly encouraging with just short term training and mostly not medically experienced, (unless the press is wrong ) the NHS Direct was pushing it. It is the end of the NHS as we knew it.

Councillor Graham Cox is hoping 111 will be more robust, says it all doesn't it. HOPING is NOT good enough. Unless sure it should NO|T happen. Just an aside, WHO is Councillor COX, is he a medical professional? never heard of him!
I would put my faith in Laurence Buckman, chairman of the GP committee rather than a weasle who has profit in mind or the government who don't give a **** for the health of the nation. A & E's may well find themselves stretched further that ever before, That will be the vote of no confidence, what will the likes of Cameron do then? I for one won't be trusting to any 111 operative, their press is not exactly encouraging with just short term training and mostly not medically experienced, (unless the press is wrong ) the NHS Direct was pushing it. It is the end of the NHS as we knew it. Councillor Graham Cox is hoping 111 will be more robust, says it all doesn't it. HOPING is NOT good enough. Unless sure it should NO|T happen. Just an aside, WHO is Councillor COX, is he a medical professional? never heard of him! Cass
  • Score: 0

5:22pm Sun 31 Mar 13

righton says...

I just used this service last week and it took three goes for them to get my basic name address and number right I was directed to a&e and waited to be seen there was then told I should have gone to the eye hospital where I spend another hour waiting. It is a tick box system the same as nth direct only the telephonist cannot spell or hear right.
I just used this service last week and it took three goes for them to get my basic name address and number right I was directed to a&e and waited to be seen there was then told I should have gone to the eye hospital where I spend another hour waiting. It is a tick box system the same as nth direct only the telephonist cannot spell or hear right. righton
  • Score: 0

6:21pm Sun 31 Mar 13

kennydoit says...

I used this system today. I was asked about my illness, and was told I'd be called back. I had hardly put the phone down when I was called and given an appointment at the out of hours GP in 45 mins, and what info to take. When I arrived, I was logged in and seen shortly after the appointed time. I was diagnosed and given a prescription. My symptoms are now under control. Like pretty much all of my other experiences with the NHS, I was treated by a competent person in a realistic time. While we were there, people turned up demanding to see doctors instantly, and others were trying to get methadone. All were dealt with sympathetically and courteously, and all of this on a Bank Holiday Sunday. I think it's an amazing system staffed by amazing, caring people - well done!
I used this system today. I was asked about my illness, and was told I'd be called back. I had hardly put the phone down when I was called and given an appointment at the out of hours GP in 45 mins, and what info to take. When I arrived, I was logged in and seen shortly after the appointed time. I was diagnosed and given a prescription. My symptoms are now under control. Like pretty much all of my other experiences with the NHS, I was treated by a competent person in a realistic time. While we were there, people turned up demanding to see doctors instantly, and others were trying to get methadone. All were dealt with sympathetically and courteously, and all of this on a Bank Holiday Sunday. I think it's an amazing system staffed by amazing, caring people - well done! kennydoit
  • Score: 0

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