News : One Million and Counting for NHS 111
Westmidlands, UK Jan 8, 2015 -- As well as celebrating the start of a new year, NHS 111 in the West Midlands is also celebrating receiving its millionth call.
The service is run by West Midlands Ambulance Service and covers the region except Staffordshire. Call levels have continued to rise steadily since WMAS took over the running of 111 from NHS Direct in November 2013.
A lot of hard work has gone into improving the service during the previous 14 months, including increasing staffing numbers, extending training and changing the way the call centre operates.
The milestone call came during an extremely busy festive period for the service which saw a surge in the numbers of people using it.
A total of 57,596 people dialled 111 between Monday, December 22 and Sunday, January 4. This represents a rise of 50% compared to the same period 12 months ago when 38,299 people used the service.
On December 26th and 27th alone, a total of 15,880 calls (8617 on December 27 and 7263 on December 26) were received, the two busiest days ever experienced since WMAS took control.
Liz Parker, Quality, Service and Improvement Manager for NHS 111 (West Midlands), said: "We have seen an extremely high number of people using the 111 service throughout December, particularly over the festive period. Whilst it has meant a lot of hard work for our staff, what it does show is that an increasing number of people in the region know about the service and are getting the service they need without having to dial 999 or go to A&E which is exactly what 111 was designed to do.
"Reaching one million calls is a significant landmark for us and one that the staff are really proud of achieving.
"What makes it even better is the fact that feedback we get from patients who have used the service is very favourable. However, we are in no way complacent and will strive to make it even better; we are constantly learning from the feedback we get and will continue to make improvements going forward."
NHS 111 designed to offer fast medical help when not in an emergency situation. It is available 24/7 and all calls are free, whether from a mobile or a landline.
When calling the service, your call will be answered by a health advisor who will ask you a series of questions and then direct you to the most appropriate healthcare service. In some cases a clinician will call you back or an appointment will be made for you at the most appropriate service.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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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.
About West Midlands Ambulance Service:
The West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) is the second-largest ambulance service in the UK. It is the authority responsible for providing NHS ambulance services in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire.
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