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NHS 111 service ‘steadily improving’

14 June 2013

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Latest data from NHS England shows customer satisfaction with NHS 111 is steadily improving, though some providers are still failing to meet standards. 

The non-urgent emergency number came under fire in recent months for leaving patients unsure where to turn for help. 

Yet usage of the service is increasing steadily, with 87% of calls being answered in 60 seconds. 

More than 90% of users said they are very or fairly satisfied with the service. 

However, some providers are still failing to meet set standards, particularly at the weekend. 

Laurence Buckman, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee told the Health Service Journal (HSJ): “The latest NHS 111 figures do not give a full picture of the system’s performance.

“In many areas of the country, NHS 111 is still not operational, such as in Greater Manchester, or is relying heavily on support from other parts of the NHS, including local GPs.

 “There remain significant concerns about NHS 111’s ability to deal with the volume of calls it receives and the quality of advice being given to patients.

However, he added that any improvement to the service is “encouraging”, but urged the government to address ongoing problems. 

An NHS England spokesperson said: “We are working with CCGs across England to consider all aspects of the NHS111 service and ensure the service is designed and commissioned in the best possible way to meet the needs of patients and the public.

“Our focus continues to be on making sure that providers of services in problem areas meet the terms of their action plans to boost performance for our patients.”