THE number of patients in England using NHS 111 has grown steadily, with now around 20,000 people every day getting urgent health advice from a doctor, nurse, paramedic or other clinical professional over the phone, according to latest NHS data.
Members of the public called the NHS 111 service 1.4 million times in July of this year, an increase of 8 per cent compared with the same period in 2017. Over half of the calls received expert assessment from a clinical professional – the highest proportion since the service was introduced.
Recent patient survey results also suggest that NHS 111 is beginning to ease pressure on frontline services. More than one in four people said they would have gone to A&E and 16 per cent said they would have called an ambulance had 111 not been available.
Gareth Stuttard, national medical advisor for the NHS 111 service, commented: "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."
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock added: "Later this year we will launch the new NHS app where patients will be able to get 111 advice on their smartphone as well as make GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions – revolutionising the way millions of us access healthcare as part of our long term plan to guarantee the future of the NHS."