111 health line is working well in Hertfordshire, claims NHS

PUBLISHED: 17:55 30 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:01 30 July 2013




HEALTH chiefs have reassured residents a telephone advice service is working “very well” in Hertfordshire, despite national problems.

The 111 service allows patients with non-critical problems to speak to trained call handlers, who assess their state and advise them how to proceed.

Channel 4’s Dispatches show last night (Monday) revealed call centres in other parts of the country are under-staffed and senior staff admitted it was unsafe at weekends.

NHS Direct, which provides the service for other areas, also announced it is pulling out of contracts to run the 24-hour-service.

But the centre in Welwyn Garden City is not affected by the problems, a senior NHS figure said this week.

Dr Vishen Ramkisson, who is clinical lead for NHS 111 in Hertfordshire, as well as being a GP in the county, said: “It is a great shame that the NHS 111 service has received some poor publicity in the national media.

“The Hertfordshire service is working very well and has not encountered the problems described elsewhere.

“In Hertfordshire the 111 service is provided by Herts Urgent Care, the organisation that also provides the GP out of hours service when your surgery is closed.

“This means that both services are integrated and that patients have only one number to ring if they need advice about which service is the right one to meet their health needs – whatever the time of day or night.

“I would like to take this opportunity to reassure people in Hertfordshire that their 111 service will respond to their calls in a timely and professional manner.”

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