Exclusive: LMC demands NHS 111 audit after 11% of advice 'unsafe'

A CCG has said it will consider launching an investigation into the local NHS 111 service after a GP found unsafe advice may have been given in 11% of calls involving his patients.

One GP found three calls from a sample of 27 which may have involved unsafe advice Pic: Julian Dodd
One GP found three calls from a sample of 27 which may have involved unsafe advice Pic: Julian Dodd

Rotherham LMC members in south Yorkshire carried out analysis of six weeks’ worth of NHS 111 calls after hearing anecdotal concerns over clinical quality.

One GP found three calls from a sample of 27 which may have involved unsafe advice where patients should have been sent straight to A&E.

LMC chairman Dr Adrian Cole, who himself found one call which caused him concern, told GP while the analysis was not necessarily representative or proportionate, the CCG should carry out a more detailed analysis.

Dr Cole added that none of the calls seen by the LMC were ‘seriously adverse’.

The LMC said while mechanisms exist for GPs to report unsafe NHS 111 advice, these were an insufficient response to a potentially significant problem.

Dr Cole said LMC members were surprised, given widespread criticism of the NHS 111 service, that there had been no local clinical audit.

‘I would have thought that if something is relatively new, and senior medical professionals have raised significant concerns, there would have been some sort of audit. It’s early days, but there is lots of room for improvement’, he said.

Dr Cole added that, the 111 service had been run well, in general, and was well integrated with the GP out-of-hours service.

A spokesman for Rotherham CCG said the LMC’s request for a local audit of NHS 111 cases to ensure patients are being sent to the right destination was being considered, and a decision would be made by the end of August.

He added: ‘There are no major concerns locally around 111 in Rotherham. There is some increased demand at A&E and around ambulance call outs, but not major compared to some areas, and we are managing that process.’

The spokesman emphasised there is a robust reporting mechanism for healthcare professionals to raise any concerns over the service.

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