GPs warn NHS 111 data 'do not give full picture'

GP leaders have warned the latest performance figures for NHS 111 do not give a full picture of the troubled phone service.

Dr Laurence Buckman: 111 data mask true picture
Dr Laurence Buckman: 111 data mask true picture

The latest monthly statistics released by NHS England show a slight improvement in April.

But GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said in many areas of the country the service was still not in operation or reliant on support from GPs and other NHS providers.

Dr Buckman said: ‘This situation is placing pressure on other already overstretched NHS services that cannot afford to be diverting resources and time in order to prop up NHS 111.

'There remain significant concerns about NHS 111’s ability to deal with the volume of calls it receives and the quality of advice being given to patients.’

The latest performance figures, for April, show:

  • 87% of calls were answered in 60 seconds, up from 84% in March.
  • 4% of calls were abandoned after waiting longer than 30 seconds, down from 7%.
  • Average call length up to April was 8 minutes 09 seconds, down from 11 minutes 26 seconds in the period up to March.
  • The service is now operational in 31 areas, up from 22 in March.
  • Some providers are still failing to meet the standards set, especially at weekends.

NHS England said: ‘NHS England is working with local CCGs, who took over the commissioning of the NHS 111 service on 1 April 2013, to ensure these providers have plans in place to improve and meet the required standards.

‘NHS England is also working with CCGs across England to consider all aspects of the NHS 111 service and ensure the service is designed and commissioned in the best possible way to meet the needs of patients and the public.’

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