NHS 111 line suffers a hiccup over Easter

Phone Dialing
Phone Dialing
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Patients calling the NHS 111 helpline over Easter were forced to suffer prolonged waiting times as they called for advice on illnesses.

Some were made to wait so long to connect they hung up.

According to NHS 111 Easter report figures the percentage of calls answered in less than 60 seconds dropped from 100 per cent on March 26 to just 50.8 per cent by March 31.

The number of calls abandoned after 30 seconds or more rose from one per cent on March 26 to 15.8 per cent on March 31.

However, one patient, @TaraKClark, on Twitter said: “Used it a couple of weeks back and had a great experience. They called back when they said they would and sorted me out.”

Andrew Pakes, Labour Parliamentary spokesman for Milton Keynes South, said: “There are clearly problems with the speed at which the NHS 111 service has been forced on people and the big cut in trained medical staff answering calls. It is unacceptable that 1 in 6 callers hung up without an answer after 30 seconds or more. This is now a privatised service in Milton Keynes not run by the NHS. We need urgent answers about how the contractor is responding to public concerns.”

A spokesman for NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Performance for the new NHS 111 service in Milton Keynes has generally been good and is performing better than in other parts of the county.

“Easter weekend has historically been a busy time for urgent care providers such as out-of-hours GPs, A&E, Urgent Care Centres and the old NHS Direct service. We therefore expected the new NHS 111 service to experience increased demand in line with other services over the Easter period.

“NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group is monitoring performance on a daily basis, and is working with the provider of NHS 111 and local healthcare providers to continuously improve the service.”