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Region’s NHS 111 Service is One of England’s Top Performing Services Over the Festive Period

24 January 2014

Figures released today by the region’s NHS 111 service, which is run by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, show that, in its first festive period, it helped over 36,000 patients with their urgent healthcare needs and was one of the top performing services across England.

Launched in March 2013, NHS 111 has been introduced to make it easier for patients to get medical help and advice fast when they have an urgent need which is not an emergency. The service is available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and is free to call from landlines and mobile phones. Over the period 24 December 2013 to 1 January 2014 NHS 111 Yorkshire and the Humber responded to a total of 36,151 calls and 99.3% of these were answered within 60 seconds against a national standard of 95%.

Following the telephone assessment of patients’ symptoms, calls to NHS 111 Yorkshire which are deemed serious enough are passed to the 999 emergency ambulance service. The Yorkshire and the Humber NHS 111 service has one of the lowest transfer rates in the country and this reflects its effectiveness in signposting patients to other appropriate sources of support.

The service’s busiest day was Saturday 28 December when there were 6,707 calls - 99.7% of these were answered within 60 seconds. This volume of calls was 1,700 higher than NHS 111 receives on a typical Saturday in this region.

Commenting on NHS 111 activity and performance, Keeley Townend, Associate Director of NHS 111 and Urgent Care Services at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said:

“The Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS 111 team was fully committed to maintaining timely, safe services for callers across the festive period and our planning was a joint effort with colleagues from across the Ambulance Service and partners from the wider healthcare system. We ensured that callers were able to access appropriate advice and care for their conditions when many of the usual primary care services were closed.

“We brought in extra clinical staff to our call centres, including pharmacists and dental nurses. We also recruited and trained a group of administrative staff who undertook routine calls such as following up appointment requests.”

Carol McKenna, Chief Officer of Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group which is the lead commissioner for NHS 111 in West Yorkshire, said she was satisfied that the NHS 111 service had coped well over the festive period.

“We have been working closely with our colleagues at NHS 111 over recent months to ensure we were commissioning a service that is robust, responsive and able to deal with the high volume of calls which is always experienced at this time of year.

“We are assured that NHS 111 in Yorkshire and the Humber, which is provided by the region’s ambulance service, coped very well over Christmas and the New Year and callers received a safe and appropriate service. We were given additional confidence by the provision of enhanced clinical support during this busy period and would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff involved for their hard work over what is always one of the most difficult and demanding times of the year.”

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department