Posts

Is NHS 111 First making a difference?

From 1 December 2020, the NHS has introduced a new system called NHS 111 First. This means that NHS 111 can now book you an appointment at your local A&E or get you an urgent appointment at an alternative health service. The NHS 111 First campaign encourages people to call NHS 111 before going to emergency departments.

During COVID-19, people have relied on NHS 111 more than ever to get urgent medical advice. Healthwatch England’s latest research looks at people’s experiences of NHS 111 and awareness of the new A&E time slot booking service.

Find out more about NHS 111 First

To better understand public attitudes towards NHS 111, including awareness of the new services offered by NHS 111 First, and support the best possible roll-out of this new service, Healthwatch England commissioned YouGov to run a UK representative online poll of 2076 adults (18+) between 27 – 28 January 2021.

Through the Healthwatch network, the views of over 400 people who had used NHS 111 in the last six months were also recorded.

  • The majority (84%) of polling respondents said that they were aware that they could call NHS 111 for urgent medical advice. Almost three-quarters (70%) agreed that they were more likely to call NHS 111 than go straight to an emergency department when they had an urgent medical problem.
  • More than three out of four people who had used the service and got through to an advisor (79%) felt they had got the help they needed.
  • Almost three quarters (72%) of those that have used the service agreed that they generally had positive experiences when they called NHS 111​, while 12% disagreed and 13% were neutral.
  • Not feeling confident in the advice given by NHS 111 call handlers was a common issue. Only 55% of all polling respondents said they felt confident that when they phoned the service, the person they spoke to would be qualified to help them.
  • Those who did use NHS 111 First and had a timeslot booked for them at A&E were highly likely to rate their experience as very good, suggesting that that the new system is working when people are given the option.
  • However, awareness of the new service is low. 80% of polling respondents were not aware that NHS 111 could reserve timeslots at GPs and 73% were not aware they could reserve timeslots at A&E.

Read the full report

 

NHS 111: How to book a timeslot at A&E

From 1 December you’ll be able to book a slot at your local A&E if you need to by calling NHS 111. Find out what is changing and what it means for you and your loved ones, in this article from Healthwatch England.

The NHS wants to make it easier and safer for patients to get the right treatment when they need it, without waiting a long time to be seen in A&E. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, crowded waiting rooms are also putting patients and hospital staff at risk of catching COVID-19.

How will the service work?

From 1 December 2020, the NHS is introducing a new system called NHS 111 First. If you have an urgent, but not life-threatening health problem you can now contact NHS 111 First to find out if you need to go to A&E. NHS 111 can book you an appointment at your local A&E or emergency department. This means you will have an allocated time to attend hospital and be treated, so you don’t have to wait a long time to be seen and can also help services avoid becoming overcrowded.

Your NHS 111 advisor or clinician could also make you a direct appointment with a GP, Pharmacist or Urgent Treatment Centre. They may also be able to give you the advice you need without using another service.

What will this mean for you?

If your condition is not life-threatening, NHS 111 may direct  you to a more appropriate service or one that can see you sooner. You may also be asked to wait at home until the emergency department is ready to see you, avoiding a long wait in A&E for you and helping to prevent overcrowding. If you need an urgent face-to-face assessment or treatment, NHS 111 should be able to arrange this immediately for you.

How do you use NHS 111 First?

You can contact NHS 111 either online or by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is free to use, including from a mobile phone.

Call 111

Have you used NHS 111 First?

We want to hear from anyone who has used NHS 111 to book an appointment at A&E or an alternative service, so we can understand how it is working for you and your loved ones. We then use your feedback to work with the NHS to improve how it runs services like NHS 111.

What should you do if you have a life-threatening emergency?

If you or a loved one has a life-threatening emergency, you should call 999 or go straight to your nearest emergency department. Examples of an emergency are:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe burns or scalds
  • Stroke

If you have been asked to wait at home until your appointment by NHS 111 and your condition changes, call 111 again. If you have been asked to wait at home by NHS 111 and you become seriously ill, call an ambulance.

Can I still walk into A&E?

If you do not want to use NHS 111 First, you can still walk into A&E for treatment. Patients who need emergency treatment will be seen first. If your health condition is not as urgent, you may need to wait elsewhere or be asked to return for a later appointment to help manage social distancing in the waiting room.

A medical professional at A&E will assess you and may direct you to a different service if appropriate. If you do not want to be seen by another service, you can still wait in A&E, but you might have to wait longer. No one who turns up to A&E in person should be turned away and told to call NHS 111 instead. If this has happened to you or someone you know, tell us in our short online survey.

What should you do if you have an ongoing medical problem that is looked after by the hospital, which you manage by going straight to A&E when you are ill?

It might be better for you to try and contact the hospital specialists that look after you before you go to A&E. Some patients with complicated medical problems need to be looked after in places other than A&E, particularly if you are vulnerable to infection. But, if you are extremely ill, go to your nearest emergency department or call an ambulance.

What should you do if you have difficulties communicating or hearing?

  • You can tell the call handler that you need an interpreter.
  • Call 18001 111 on a text phone or using the Next Generation Text (NGT) Lite app on your smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Use the NHS 111 British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter service if you’re Deaf and want to use the phone service.

How else can NHS 111 help me?

NHS 111 helps people get the right physical and mental health advice and treatment when they urgently need it. A specialist health advisor will assess your health needs, give advice, refer you to the most appropriate care service or send an ambulance in case of an emergency.

Depending on where you live or the services available in your area, NHS 111 can also be used to book same-day appointments at local pharmacists, GPs and Urgent care Centres, so you can receive the right type of treatment. If they cannot make you an appointment, they will direct you to the best service to meet your health needs.

As well as A&E appointments, NHS111 can book same-day appointments at pharmacies,

Clinicians such as nurses, GPs and paramedics now play a large role within NHS 111 and may be able to give you the advice or treatment you need without accessing another service.