Much has been said about NHS 111 - the telephone helpline for advising people on what to do with healthcare concerns - this month. BBC News has stated that the “111 line [is] increasing pressure on NHS”. The BMA have claimed that 111 is sending too many people into GP practices, or onto telephone consultations with GPs, when self-care or visiting a pharmacy will do. There have been all sorts of anecdotal news stories about inappropriate ambulance call-outs by NHS 111.
This winter, A&E 4 hour targets have been frequently in the news. Dr Clifford Mann, the president of the College of Emergency Medicine has suggested that NHS 111 has been a contributing factor.
So we decided to crunch the numbers. We asked ourselves:
Does NHS 111 improve people’s choice of healthcare service?
Does NHS 111 significantly burden GPs and A&E departments?
We pulled national NHS 111 call statistics from NHS England, 999 ambulance attendance figures from HSCIC, and sourced currently unpublished regional statistics about our Emergency Departments in Cambridgeshire. We were unable to find a good source of statistics for the proportion of a GP practice’s work that is due to NHS 111.
This infographic shows our findings.