Almost one in three calls to NHS 111 will be assessed by a clinician under plans to ‘beef up’ the helpline, NHS England has said today.
Speaking to the Public Accounts Committee this morning, Simon Stevens said that they want to increase the number of calls receiving medical input from 22% to ‘north of 30%’ by this winter.
It will partly achieve this by improving interaction with GP out-of-hours services, and integrate all urgent care services.
It comes on the same day that Mr Stevens said all A&Es will include a GP triage service.
Asked by MPs whether a ‘beefed up’ 111 service was on the agenda, Mr Stevens answered ‘it most certainly is’.
He added: ‘Frankly we need a higher proportion of the calls being answered by NHS 111 dealt with by a doctor or nurse or paramedic and we want to increase that proportion from 22% of the calls right now to north of 30% by this coming winter.’
He cited a pilot in North East England that is able to link data from 111, out of hours and the ambulance service to ‘show what effect a higher proportion of clinical call handling will have on the so called “dispositions”, where patients end up being treated’.
NHS England will push for the urgent care services to be integrated, he said.
Mr Stevens told MPs: ‘Many out-of-hours services are already using NHS 111 as their front end call handling but it really makes no sense to have two parallel offers.’