The NHS111 service has reached its six month anniversary in Hampshire – and is performing well.
While some 111 services elsewhere have received a lukewarm reception, Hampshire has fared considerably better in key areas.
In the last six months the service has taken over 216,000 calls which equates to around 8,000 calls a week. The call waiting times have steadily improved since April. In June and July almost 96 per cent of the 70,000 calls received were answered within 60 seconds.
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), which provides the 111 service in Hampshire, has also consistently met the target for transferring fewer than ten per cent of calls to 999 – in the six months to the end of June, an average of just 5.22 per cent of calls were transferred.
Dr Jim Hogan, Chief Clinical Officer at NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which commissions the service in Hampshire, said: "Our NHS111 service is serving the local population well, and is steadily improving in most key areas. Many of the criticisms levelled at 111 elsewhere in England are not serious issues here.
"We do acknowledge that there is room for improvement in some areas. Since April, for example, we have advised just over five per cent of calls to attend A&E, when our target is less than five per cent. This clearly has an impact on our A&E colleagues, and is something that we are working to address.
"There were difficulties in March, which included the Easter weekend, resulting in very high usage of the service – some 48,500 calls. SCAS worked intensively to put in place a number of changes, including further staff training and sharing of best practice around its call centres, and these have had a positive impact.
"We'll continue to monitor performance to ensure that the thousands of people who ring the service every month receive the best possible service – and I'm confident that this has been the case for the vast majority of calls to date."
Mark Rowell, Head of 111 for SCAS, said: "We are very proud to say that over the last six months the service has improved and we are confident that we are providing a robust service to patients who phone 111 across Hampshire. We look forward to continuing improvements that will enable us to provide even better and more appropriate services to our patients across our 999 and 111 services – two numbers, one service."