NHS 111: More than 72 per cent of those needing urgent care dealt with on the phone

PUBLISHED: 06:53 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:23 04 March 2020

If you need non-emergency care please call '111' instead of '999'. Picture: East and North Herts CCG.

If you need non-emergency care please call '111' instead of '999'. Picture: East and North Herts CCG.

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More than 72 per cent of people who phone NHS 111 needing urgent care are helped on the phone, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

More than 72 per cent of people who phone NHS 111 needing urgent care are helped on the phone, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

This newspaper made an FOI request to the East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group asking how many Hertfordshire residents called 111 from January to December and asked how many of those who needed urgent care, how many were directed to the New QEII Urgent Care Centre in WGC and the total directed to urgent care providers but not to the New QEII Urgent Care Centre.

There were an average of 17,914.50 calls per month to 111 needing urgent care in 2019 and of those 4,276 were directed to providers, including pharmacies and out-of-hours GP appointments, and 700 were sent to the UCC at the New QEII.

The East and North Herts CCG said: "When people need to attend a treatment centre, they are usually directed to places that are close to their homes. Hertfordshire treatment centres also include the Hemel Hempstead Urgent Care Centre and the Bishop's Stortford, Cheshunt and St Albans Minor Injuries Unit.   

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"NHS 111 call handlers know in detail the staff and services which are on offer at different centres at different times. The national systems they use identify symptoms which might seem minor, but could be an indication of a serious illness or injury. If someone is vulnerable or has complex needs, an A&E department could be the best place for them to be treated."

Dr Prag Moodley, a GP and chair of the East and North Herts CCG, said: "We really want local people to use the services on offer at the Urgent Care Centre when they are appropriate for their needs.

"We know that it is not always easy to decide where to go for the right help, so we encourage everyone to check before they travel, either by going online to 111.nhs.uk or calling NHS 111 for advice. 

"The figures we have provided include all the calls from all over Hertfordshire. They show that the majority of people get the help or reassurance they need over the phone and don't need to travel at all." 

The Governing Body considered shutting WGC's UCC at night in October - as on average less than one person an hour uses it - but our CCG does not yet know how many people would need to use it to justify keeping it open.

A spokeswoman for the CCG said: "We are working with East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust to establish the number of patients that they would expect each nurse to typically treat per hour overnight at the A&E department of the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, as well as a view on the number of patients they consider would make good use of nurses' time overnight at the New QEII UCC."


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