Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Make the Right Call: Ring NHS 111 and the team are there to give advice and ease concerns

16:23 07 August 2014

NHS 111 Ipswich call centre

NHS 111 Ipswich call centre

PAGEPIX LTD 07976 935738

This week, for our Make the Right Call campaign, which aims to direct people towards the right healthcare provider – whether it is a GP, pharmacy, NHS 111 or A&E, we take a look behind the scenes at an NHS 111 call centre. Health correspondent Lauren Everitt reports.

shares

NHS 111 case study:

Roger Horne, from Felixstowe, called 111 when his wife, Gill, fell off her stair-lift early in the evening and had cut her eyelid.

He said: “It wasn’t an emergency but it was quite worrying and I needed advice.

“I called 111 and the call was answered very quickly.

“The person who answered the call was very calm and polite.

“She asked me a series of questions around whether my wife was breathing and conscious, and what injuries she had.

“After quickly dealing with the life threatening questions and further questioning about the injury, the health adviser advised me to take Gill to A&E as the cut

was quite deep and still bleeding.

“I was given advice as to how to deal with the bleeding whilst getting to A&E and advised to call back if I needed any further advice or assistance.

“The whole call was very efficiently dealt with and I felt very reassured by the health adviser’s manner throughout the call. I would have no hesitation using the service again if needed.”

The NHS 111 service in Suffolk went live nearly 18 months ago. Since then, around 230,000 calls have been made to health advisers.

People can call the service at any time of the day or night and get urgent healthcare information or advice free of charge.

The health advisers, who undergo four weeks of extensive training, are the caller’s first port of call after dialling 111.

Health adviser Charlotte Scott, who has worked in the Ipswich-based call centre for 16 months, said: “We go through an assessment with the patient and get their name, date of birth, contact details and symptoms.

Clinical advisor Alex OsmanClinical advisor Alex Osman

“The questions on our Pathway system set a course to follow whether it be to recommend visiting a pharmacy, GP, going to A&E or anything more urgent than that and we can arrange an ambulance to go out to them.

“Every question on the system has to be answered to ensure the appropriate treatment or advice is given.

“If the call is a bit more complex, we can put them through to a clinical adviser.”

The clinical advisers, such as Alex Osman, have a medical background and are fully qualified paramedics or nurses. He said: “The health adviser will put the call through to us, give us a quick explanation and we will then go through every question they have asked to make sure the patient has been triaged properly.

“We will use our clinical knowledge to give advice over the phone for minor scrapes and bruises, or advise them to go to a pharmacy, see a GP or, if necessary, a trip to A&E.”

The NHS 111 number is not for life-threatening emergencies and people should still dial 999 in those situations.

Calls can range from dental problems to falls and colds to chest pain. They also tend to be seasonal with hay fever a common reason for calling in the summer months, and colds and flu in the winter.

At weekends, when demand is typically high, an average of 37 health advisers and 10 clinical advisers work in the call centre and take an average of 3,000 calls per day.

Mandy Wegg, head of NHS 111 for the east of England, said: “We get a lot of people call us before they call their surgery in the morning asking if they should call their GP.

“We work on a call demand basis so that’s why the service initially went a little wrong at the start – but now we’ve looked at historical data, we know when the peaks and troughs in demand will be.

“It means we can have more health and clinical advisers on when needed.”

In Suffolk, the NHS 111 service is commissioned by the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and provided by Care UK. The health and social care provider also runs Suffolk’s GP out-of-hours service, one of the services people calling NHS 111 may be directed to.

Mrs Wegg said Care UK’s contract is that calls have to be answered within one minute, 95% of the time.

Joe Chadwick-Bell, Care UK’s regional director of the south and east of England, said despite a few teething problems when NHS 111 was introduced in February 2013, she thinks the service is here to stay.

“There are lots of opportunities for NHS 111 to link in with other services,” she added. “The teething problems have been overcome but there is still more to do with patients and other healthcare providers in understanding NHS 111.

“The Pathway service is continually being developed and NHS 111 will eventually start to book patients in to minor injuries units. It can go an awful long way.”

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

The Colchester Borough Election count at Charter Hall.

Here we bring you the results as they are announced from yesterday’s council and police and crime commissioner elections.

Barry Studd wins Holywells Ward at the local election count at Ipswich Corn Exchange.

It was a bad night for the Tories in Ipswich - and a great one for Labour as they gained two seats on the borough council.

The Colchester Borough Election count at Charter Hall. Marks Tey & Layer - CON Three seats - Kevin Bentley, Andrew Ellis and Jackie Maclean

First results announced at Charter Hall in Colchester following the first all-out borough council elections.

File picture of two horse riders.

Fire, police and ambulance crews worked together to free a woman who was trapped under a horse in a ditch.

Pub quiz.

British author and mathematician Bertrand Russell said: “There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.”

Polling stations have now closed

Ballot boxes are being rounded up and votes will soon be verified following today’s local elections, and the police and crime commissioner ballots.

The crash happened in Granville Street, which is just off Norwich Road.

A man has been taken to hospital with a leg injury after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car in Granville Street, Ipswich.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24