In 2010, the NHS launched a new 111 non-emergency service for people who required medical attention for urgent, but not life threatening, health issues. Like the 999 emergency number, 111 non-emergency service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The intention behind it was to relieve some of the pressure on the 999 system, as its operators would no longer have to deal with matters that would not be considered an emergency.
How is the system run?
The service is run by several organisations in different areas of the country, including NHS Direct and NHS Ambulance Services. It has recently been reported that one of the major providers, NHS Direct is going to pull out of the contracts in the nine areas it covers due to financial problems. It is looking to transfer its contracts to other providers to try to stem the large drop in revenue it is experiencing, which is partly the result of it not receiving as many calls as predicted in some of the larger areas it covers, such as the West Midlands and North West.
Only half of the services already installed…now not expected that the whole country will be operational for at least another 12 months
It was intended for the service to be rolled out across the country by April this year, however only half of the services already installed were operational in May and it is now not expected that the whole country will be operational for at least another 12 months.
As well as this, there have been reports of callers not being able to get through and when they do, they have to wait a long time before speaking with an advisor. People have also complained about receiving inappropriate advice and about being referred incorrectly.
As NHS Direct pulls out of the service there are calls for the Government to put more clinicians on the front line to handle the incoming calls; restore continuity and continue to relieve pressure on other areas of the NHS, such as Accident and Emergency Departments.
Have you experienced any problems with receiving negligent medical advice from the NHS or any other health provider?
If you would like to know whether you have a claim for compensation, please contact our Medical Negligence team at Ringrose Law by telephone or at one of our offices in Boston, Lincoln, Grantham, Sleaford, Spalding or Newark.