NHS 111 service to be rolled out across whole of country
A NHS non-emergency helpline will be rolled out across Wales following a successful pilot, it has been revealed.
The 111 service, which operates 24 hours a day, is managed by a team of professionals who offer treatment and advice to patients.
It was initially set up to try to ease pressures on unscheduled care in the Welsh NHS and stop people from unnecessarily attending A&E departments.
Currently the 111 service is only available to people living in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board area – which covers Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea – and Carmarthenshire, where it was launched as a pilot in October 2016. The pilot tested the practicalities of combining NHS Direct Wales and the GP Out of Hours services.
The decision to roll it out nationwide followed an independent evaluation of the pilot. It found the service received more than 71,000 calls in the first six months of operation, with 95% or survey respondents saying they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the advice they were given.
Although the changes cannot be wholly be attributed to 111, the evaluation found a 1% decrease in A&E attendance in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg UHB area during the first six months of service.
There was also a reduction in the number of ambulances taking patients to emergency departments.
However this change was mainly seen in nonurgent journeys – down by just over 25% during the evaluation period.