Revealed: Full extent of NHS 111's poor performance over March
Official figures released today have shown the extent of NHS 111’s poor performance across the country throughout the whole of March, with the percentage of calls being abandoned doubling and the number of calls answered within time dropping dramatically.
The statistics, which cover the whole of England for the full month, for the first time show a complete picture of how poorly the service coped following the soft launch in many regions in March.
The NHS England stats reveal that 8% of calls were abandoned after waiting for over 30 seconds, an increase on the 3% of calls in February. Furthermore, 84% of answered calls to NHS 111 were picked up within 60 seconds, compared with 90% of answered calls in February.
The figures also show that the percentage of call backs that were made within 10 minutes - the target set by the Department of Health - reduced from 53.47% in February to 37.17% in March.
The average call length also increased from 14.19 minutes in February to 18 minutes in March.
Last week NHS England announced an urgent review of the NHS 111 model, which will run into 2014, admitting that performance had not been up to expectation.
Pulse previously reported that performance over the Easter weekend, most of which was included in this data, was poor across the country, with some areas reporting a 40% abandoned call rate on Good Friday, callers waiting 11 and a half hours for callback, and that a number of serious untoward incidences related to the service are now under investigation.
Professor Clare Gerada, chair of the RCGP, said: ‘We now have a ‘patchwork quilt’ of services, with NHS 111 working well in some areas, the system seriously flawed in other parts of the country, and patients left in a situation of not knowing where to turn for help or facing long delays in trying to access the service.
‘Once again, GPs are bearing the brunt of the criticism when it is GPs who came to the rescue to protect patients and save the system from total collapse over Easter, and who are continuing to shore it up.’