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Frequent NHS 111 callers will be given priority GP appointments

Commissioners will have to ensure that patients who repeatedly call NHS 111 will be given a priority appointment with a GP within the hour, under new service specifications for the telephone triage service.

The specifications state that CCGs must ensure than providers put systems in place so that patients calling NHS 111 more than three times in a 96 hour period are given an appointment with a GP within the hour, or assessed for an ambulance.

Pulse revealed last year that providers had been routinely bouncing repeat callers to GP practices during the pilot phase, causing the Government to step in and ensure protocols were followed.

Speaking about the requirements, the GPC lead on 111, Dr Peter Holden, told Pulse: ‘I think it’s a waste of time at a time when we’ve not got resources to waste. The point is there should be a proper triaging method there in the first place.’

Ian Greenwood, NHS 111 Interim National Programme Director said the CSD was not intended to ‘prescribe how commissioners deliver these requirements but to ensure that patients can depend upon receiving the same high quality service wherever they live or access NHS 111 services in England.’