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Region's NHS 111 Service Celebrates its First Birthday

The region’s NHS 111 service, which is run by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, is celebrating its first birthday.

Launched on 5 March 2013, NHS 111 was 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. 

The first call ever taken was from a West Yorkshire patient with toothache and who was given advice on pain relief and recommended to contact their dental practice within 24 hours.   The service took its millionth call on Sunday 16 February at 9.30pm.

The region’s service receives calls from residents in Yorkshire and the Humber, Bassetlaw, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.  On a typical weekday the service responds to around 2,800 calls and on a normal weekend there are 11,000 calls.

Callers ring NHS 111 with a range of conditions, from minor ailments, where advice is given on self-care rather than onward referral, through to conditions which turn out to need an emergency response and we arrange for an ambulance to be dispatched immediately.

Since its launch the most common calls have been for patients suffering from abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting, headaches and sore throats, rashes, dental-related conditions or simply needing health or medication advice.  

In addition, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, in partnership with Local Care Direct, provides the GP Out-of-Hours care for patients in the West Yorkshire and Craven area, which also started on 5 March 2013.

As part of regular monitoring of the NHS 111 service, patient experience is independently surveyed.  Between April and November 2013, 90% of patients confirmed that they had followed the advice given and 94% agreed that they were treated with dignity and respect.  A survey of local healthcare partners in January showed that 94% were satisfied or extremely satisfied with how the service was being provided.

Commenting on the one-year milestone for NHS 111, 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 has worked very hard to get the region’s service up and running so effectively.  We are fully committed to providing timely, safe services for callers and their families and to ensure they can access appropriate advice and care for their conditions 24/7.

“We are proud to be one of the best performing NHS 111 services in the country and continue to work with our local commissioners to respond appropriately to patients’ urgent care needs.”

Chief Executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service David Whiting commented:
“The NHS 111 service we are providing has been acknowledged by NHS England and stakeholders as one of the most successful operations in the country.  We are pleased with levels of performance and the effective management of patients’ needs.  As such we have one of the lowest rates of transferring calls into the 999 system or referring patients to A&E departments.”

Carol McKenna, Chief Officer of Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group, which is the lead commissioner for NHS 111, said she was pleased with how the first year of the service had gone.

“We have worked closely with our colleagues at NHS 111 to ensure that the service being provided to patients is robust, responsive and able to deal with high volumes of calls.

“We are assured that NHS 111 in Yorkshire and the Humber is helping many patients with urgent care needs and signposting them to other services which can provide more specific and appropriate care for particular conditions.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff involved in setting up and running the service – happy first birthday!” 

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department