40% of NHS 111 callers directed to primary care

Around 40% of callers to urgent care number NHS 111 last month were told to visit primary care services while just 5% were advised to attend A&E, DoH figures show.

DoH call statistics across the four NHS 111 pilot sites - County Durham and Darlington, Lincolnshire, Luton and Nottingham City – show that 12,137 (42%) callers were recommended to attend primary care in June.

Of these, 33% were told to contact a primary care provider, which includes advising the caller to see their own GP. A further 7% were recommended to speak to a primary care practitioner, while 2% were told to attend pharmacy or dental services.
In total 5% of callers were told to attend A&E, 9% were told to call an ambulance, 4% advised to call other services, while 41% of callers were recommended to not contact any medical service and instead given self-care advice.

Since the pilots began in August 2010, 110,049 callers have been referred to primary care services across the four sites.

Earlier this year, the GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman raised concerns that many GP out-of-hours providers feel the NHS 111 service is generating a lot of extra work.

One of the problems with the non-emergency phone service is that it is extremely easy to access and people call it without thinking, he said.

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