Fall in demand for 111 service

PUBLISHED: 08:31 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 08:51 15 May 2020

Figures have shown the number of calls made to 111 from Norfolk and Waveneye. Photo: Getty Images/ iStockPhoto

Figures have shown the number of calls made to 111 from Norfolk and Waveneye. Photo: Getty Images/ iStockPhoto

© Rido

More than 3,400 111 calls were abandoned in Norfolk and Waveney in April as the number of people dialling the service dropped by 20,000.

New figures released on Thursday showed 33,966 calls were taken, down from 53,649 in March.

Of those, 26,474 calls that were answered, 14,553 were within 60 seconds.

The statistic show that 3,438 calls were abandoned after at least 30 seconds, falling by nearly 15,000 from the previous month.

In March, there was a 66pc surge in calls with more than a third of the 53,649 calls abandoned after people were left waiting in queues for at least 30 seconds. Of the 53,648, 8,350 calls were answered within 60 seconds.

Last month’s increase was as a result of people being urged to call for advice, rather than attending GP surgeries, pharmacies or hospitals, in an early bid to slow the spread.

IC24, the organisation who provide the service for Norfolk and Waveney, said new measures introduced to reduce pressure on 111 providers was a reason for the fall in calls.

An IC24 spokesperson said: “The NHS 111 service in Norfolk and Waveney experienced a significant increase in calls during March due to the coronavirus outbreak. There was a reduction of the number of calls during April as a result of the introduction of measures to reduce pressure on NHS 111 providers, such as the national online symptom checker for patients and a national contact centre to handle coronavirus related calls. Our rate of calls abandoned after 30 seconds has dropped significantly, and remains in line with the national average.”

NHS medical director professor Stephen Powis, said there had been a “strong performance” by ambulance and 111 services.

Professor Powis said “NHS hospitals went from looking after just several hundred confirmed coronavirus positive inpatients at the beginning of March to nearly 19,000 inpatients by mid-April. It is an amazing achievement that every Covid-19 patient who needed hospital inpatient care or critical care was able to receive it.

“Ambulance services and 111 performed strongly in April, rebounding from the pressures they experienced in March. A&E attendances were sharply down, but the majority of these reductions were for lower risk conditions. Urgent cancer referrals are now picking back up – having doubled over the past three weeks – and the NHS has launched a public information campaign reminding the people of the importance of seeking care for urgent and emergency conditions.”

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