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News : Nearly a Quarter of NHS 24 Calls Abandoned

#contactcenterworld, @nhs24

Dundee, Scotland, July 17, 2022 -- Nearly a quarter of Scotland's NHS 24 calls are being abandoned before they are answered, new figures show.

Between February and June, 23% of calls to the 111 helpline did not reach an operator before the caller cut off.

The average wait over the same period was about 22 minutes.

The unanswered call rates are similar to those recorded during the winter months and come despite £20m of extra funding for NHS 24 and a new call centre in Dundee.

NHS 24 said it was experiencing "very high call volumes" and said calls could be abandoned for numerous reasons.

These include patients ending the call after hearing the automated options - such as accessing advice from the NHS Inform website or calling 999.

A freedom of information request from Scottish Labour revealed that of the 785,456 calls made to the 111 service in the last five months, 180,940 were abandoned.

Paul O'Kane, the party's public health spokesman, said: "It is clear NHS 24 still cannot cope with the crisis engulfing our NHS.

"Someone looking for help not only faces unanswered calls to NHS 24 but unprecedented waits at A&E, a battle for an appointment with a GP, and record waiting lists for treatment."

The figures revealed the rate of unanswered calls on a monthly basis reached more than a quarter in March (27.5%) and June (27%).

The data also shows the average waiting time when contacting the service was just over 22 minutes in June. This compares to 17.5 minutes in January.

The non-emergency 111 phone number operates an out-of-hours service for non-emergency medical and dental concerns but was expanded to a 24/7 operation during the pandemic.

A new NHS 24 call centre opened in Dundee in January.

The facility was expected to be at full capacity by the end of March with about 140 staff, including call handlers, nurses and mental health nurses.

'Continued high demand'

Janice Houston, director of service delivery at NHS 24, said: "Since the start of the pandemic NHS 24 has rapidly expanded the numbers of staff within our services to support our callers, as well as opening two new centres.

"Continued high demand for the 111 service means that, at times, people have experienced a longer wait time for their calls to be answered."As with all NHS boards, we have a number of staff off sick with Covid. However, our colleagues continue to work tirelessly, with a commitment to deliver safe and effective services 24/7, and answer every call as quickly as possible."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said it had increased funding to NHS 24 by over £20 million for additional recruitment and a new call centre in Dundee.

She added: "We will continue to support the service as it expands both its services and workforce."

#contactcenterworld, @nhs24

Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Source: https://www.bbc.com


About NHS24:
Company LogoNHS 24 is the name of a confidential health advice and information service provided by NHS Scotland. It is the equivalent to the NHS Direct scheme in England and NHS Direct Wales, allowing people who feel unwell or those caring for them to obtain advice if it is not convenient or possible to wait until they can visit their General Practitioner when the practice is next open. It is not intended as a substitute for obtaining an emergency ambulance service via 999.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Spread the Info

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Tuesday, July 19, 2022

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2022 Buyers Guide Translation Services

 
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We’ve observed conversions as high as 85% - in as little time as 30-minutes - with remaining client specific complex integrations being done by employees or professional services of your choice leveraging our Platform Data Transformation™ solution.

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Although the customer-facing type of tasks is essential to good customer experience, tasks being done in the background is as important.

Tru29 has been providing this type of outsourcing solutions to various businesses across the globe so you can be assured of a reliable and experienced workforce.
 

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