health

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The latest figures for the performance of the NHS 111 phone service in the county show it is improving.

In May the service only achieved 77 per cent of calls answered within 60 seconds – the national target is 95 per cent.

The service was set up earlier this year and the clinical commissioning groups, Nene CCG and Corby CCG, have continued to work with the service provider, Derbyshire Health United (DHU), to improve its performance.

In a statement the CCGs said: “We acknowledge that this is not where the service needs to be, but are confident that DHU will continue to improve. Since May we have seen a considerable improvement in performance and June shows NHS 111 achieved 93 per cent of calls answered within 60 seconds. This is still slightly below the target of 95 per cent, but is an improvement and we will continue to work in partnership with DHU to continue to see improvements in 111, meet targets and provide the best possible service.”

Dr Kamal Soodm, who is the clinical lead for NHS 111 in the area, said: “We have seen ongoing improvement in the service since the service started in April and June’s performance is encouraging. We have worked very hard in helping shape the NHS 111 service provided for us by DHU.

“We have every confidence in our provider; our patient feedback to date has been largely positive. Nevertheless, neither we nor DHU is complacent and we’ll continue to work with patients to continue to improve the service.”

NHS 111 replaces NHS Direct. After an initial phone telephone discussion, the call handler refers patients directly to vital services including walk-in services, pharmacies, out of hours GP service, urgent care centre’s, minor injury units or accident and emergency. The system has come under fire nationally with one provider pulling out of its contracts because it said the figures did not add up.

Medical professionals are also making people aware of the range of health services that are available to ensure patients don’t make unnecessary trips to A&E.

As well as NHS 111, they are asking patients to “Choose well” and use the right service to meet their family’s health needs.

New online health guides have been developed to help patients understand their own health and that of their families. These include A guide for Parents and Carers - Common Childhood Illnesses; A Young Person’s Guide to Health and Happiness and A Guide to Keeping Healthy and Happy in Later Life.

The guides can be viewed as a PDF document so they are easy to print and are available at www.neneccg.nhs.uk