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Since new cuts for the NHS emergency services were announced at the beginning of the year, there has been a strain on the ability to treat patients fast enough. With some people waiting hours for an available bed, and many Accident & Emergency rooms closing this year, it’s not hard to see how much the NHS is struggling to stay on its feet presently.
A recent outcry by activists has urged parliament to reconsider their stance on the NHS and how it can be reformed to work the way it was meant to. From this has come the news that they are to “revamp” the 111 service offered by the NHS in order to help people when both A&E departments and their GP offices are full, and to help people who may not need to visit the hospital.
The 111 service was created in 2011 and is considered a lesser alternative to calling 999 when you have an issue. If you are concerned for your health but are unsure whether your issue is with your local GP, the Emergency Room, or whether you can treat yourself at home, then 111 is the service you need to call. Trained advisors are on call 24/7 to help you with any issues you may have. If you are concerned and do not wish to wait to see a medical professional, the trained staff at 111 can offer peace of mind when you need it the most.
Despite the original idea to perfect and better the NHS Direct service, 111 has been criticised for using fewer nurses that its former did. It’s thought this new overhaul will see the introduction of more trained nurses into the service, alongside their trained staff.
The rebuilding of the service is a great idea for preventing members of the public crowding A&E services around the country. Roughly 40% of patients who call 111 are helped there and then and have no need to head to the hospital, or even their local GP. The idea is great for those who have an illness they are unsure about, as staff can identify issues almost immediately. If they believe you need to see your GP or go to the hospital, they will tell you to do so, in extreme cases they can also send an ambulance to your location.
The reform is set to see much more 111 call centres dotted around the UK, which means more staff will be needed and trained to help callers each and every day. The reform will also be an effort to link 111 to more integrated NHS services such as the Fire Service and GP Offices. The current National Medical Advisor, Dr Helen Thomass, had this to say about the overhaul of the 111 service:
“We will make it possible for up to 30% of NHS 111 callers to have a telephone consultation with a clinician who can access their medical records and be able to book them into an appointment if necessary.”
Full disclosure of the plans for 111 will be announced later this month.