Survey shows success of the NHS111 service in the region

North East Ambulance Service call handlers.
North East Ambulance Service call handlers.
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Satisfaction with the North East’s NHS111 service continues to improve, despite an increase of more than 50,000 calls over the last year.

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) randomly selects around 1,500 NHS111 callers each month to find out about their experience of using the service.

Feedback from September showed 91.2 per cent of patients would recommend the service.

This is in spite of an increasing number of calls; between July and September, NHS111 call handlers answered 208,674 calls – compared to 158,661 during the same period last year. During this time, there have been a number of improvements, particularly from patients who reported feeling reassured by the service, having their problem resolved and being able to speak to a call handler straight away.

The latest survey results come after NEAS won the Primary and Community Care category at the Bright Ideas in Health Awards in recognition of its service which allows NHS111 call handlers to book GP appointments directly into a patient’s surgery on their behalf.

Before the GP direct booking service was available, patients who were advised to see their GP following the NHS111 assessment were expected to make an appointment themselves.

This was inconvenient, slow, carried the risk of not being able to get an appointment and having to call NHS111 again or attending an urgent-care centre or an A&E department.

NEAS began working with the region’s GPs in April 2016 as part of a pilot funded by the North East Urgent and Emergency Care Vanguard and supported by North of England Commissioning Support Unit.

They developed a process of electronic booking of appointments via NHS111 which was rolled out in the North East in June 2016 to 331 GP practices.