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News : 111 NHS Helpline ‘Winning Over' Stoke-on-Trent Patients
Feb 20, 2014 -- Public satisfaction with the NHS 111 helpline in Stoke-on-Trent is rising after the chaos of its launch.
In April last year, GPs reported calls going unanswered and poor advice given to people.
NHS Direct – the organisation contracted to provide the service in North Staffordshire and the rest of the West Midlands – even pulled out as it could not afford to carry on.
Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) gave the work to the area's new out-of-hours urgent GP service, Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care (SDUC), based in Stoke.
The 111 system was intended to remove the less pressing calls from the 999 service, which could then focus on emergencies. But the British Medical Association called for an independent inquiry into what it called the '111 debacle'.
Now people using it in the city have reported an improvement.
Goldenhill GP Dr Chandra Kanneganti, a CCG clinical director, said: "The 111 system itself is a good one but NHS Direct did not provide enough capacity to ensure it would have worked properly.
"That meant they were unable to guarantee the level of service we had expected and we had to act.
"There now seems to have been a big improvement reflected in high results from a patients' satisfaction survey."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About NHS Direct:
NHS Direct is a 24 hour health advice and information service provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in England. NHS Direct provides confidential access to medical information, guidance and reassurance through a range of interactive services. These include an expert telephone advice line and detailed web resources.
Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014