NHS 111 phone service chaos: 22 per cent of users give up

The 111 line was brought in by the Government to combine the old NHS Direct helpline with out of hours GP care.

The 111 line was brought in by the Government to combine the old NHS Direct helpline with out of hours GP care.

First published in News
Last updated
Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Figures have revealed "chaos" in South West London following the launch of a new NHS helpline.

Nursing leaders are warning that a lack of expertise on the new 111 telephone advice service poses a threat to patient care.

The 111 line was brought in by the Government to combine the old NHS Direct helpline with out of hours GP care.

It will be run by private companies in many parts of London and largely by call centre staff with no nurse training.

Health magazine, Pulse, has revealed data showing the extent of problems with the helpline in London over the Easter weekend.

The problems were particularly severe in south-west London where figures reveal a day over Easter when only 30 per cent of calls were answered in under 60 seconds.

On one day 22 per cent of callers gave up.

One caller waited over 21 minutes before anyone answered the phone and another caller had to wait three and a half hours before they received a call back.

Royal College of Nursing London director Bernell Bussue said: “These problems pose a clear threat to patient care and the other result will be further pressure on the capital’s already overstretched A&E units.” 

Have you had problems with the new NHS 111 system? Call the newsdesk on 0208 722 6358 or email ssleigh@london.newsquest.co.uk.

Comments (5)

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1:04pm Tue 16 Apr 13

kingstonpaul says...

Is it an 0800 number? Probably, so while you were anxiously waiting to speak with a so-called 'expert' in a Malaysian call-centre, you were being shafted 30 pence a minute.
Is it an 0800 number? Probably, so while you were anxiously waiting to speak with a so-called 'expert' in a Malaysian call-centre, you were being shafted 30 pence a minute. kingstonpaul
  • Score: 0

2:11pm Tue 16 Apr 13

ken elmes says...

Another Tory **** up, and privatised money making scam
Another Tory **** up, and privatised money making scam ken elmes
  • Score: 0

5:32pm Tue 16 Apr 13

Culverin says...

Why do we allow this sort of rubbish to be offered in place of a service? People should stop loving the Tories, what have they ever given us?
Why do we allow this sort of rubbish to be offered in place of a service? People should stop loving the Tories, what have they ever given us? Culverin
  • Score: 0

5:54pm Tue 16 Apr 13

EdwinaWaugh says...

Chemist shops are used as medical experts: Boots provide STD packs, plus blood pressure and other tests are available. Then there are 'experts' on diabetes and all the other ills the flesh is heir to. Specsavers have become deafness solvers, and now we are only awaiting brain surgery and other heroic treatments in the supermarket.
Chemist shops are used as medical experts: Boots provide STD packs, plus blood pressure and other tests are available. Then there are 'experts' on diabetes and all the other ills the flesh is heir to. Specsavers have become deafness solvers, and now we are only awaiting brain surgery and other heroic treatments in the supermarket. EdwinaWaugh
  • Score: 0

5:46pm Wed 17 Apr 13

Michael Pantlin says...

I was told by the 111 call handler last week that 111 cannot send an ambulance. I begged to differ, got referred upwards through a nurse to a doctor and got one and have just been discharged after 8 days in hospital. I think the worst waste of money are the out of hours home visit doctors. Wait four hours for a three minute visit steth and sphig job, no other tests and then told can't find anything wrong and see your GP after the weekend when you find if you are still alive that there is a week's wait for an appointment.
I was told by the 111 call handler last week that 111 cannot send an ambulance. I begged to differ, got referred upwards through a nurse to a doctor and got one and have just been discharged after 8 days in hospital. I think the worst waste of money are the out of hours home visit doctors. Wait four hours for a three minute visit steth and sphig job, no other tests and then told can't find anything wrong and see your GP after the weekend when you find if you are still alive that there is a week's wait for an appointment. Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 0

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