Friday, May 3, 2013

BBC News - Seven 'potentially serious' NHS 111 helpline incidents

BBC News - Seven 'potentially serious' NHS 111 helpline incidents: "Seven 'potentially serious' NHS 111 helpline incidents
By Caroline Parkinson
Health editor, BBC News website

The 111 service is designed to offer advice for urgent healthcare problems
Continue reading the main story
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There were seven "potentially serious" incidents when the new NHS 111 urgent care helpline was launched, the NHS has confirmed.

Earlier the board of NHS England warned organisations running 111 that they must deliver good care - or face financial penalties or lose contracts.
There have been reports of calls going unanswered and poor advice being given."
During that time around 120,000 calls were dealt with. The organisation said it was not unduly concerned about the level of incidents.
A spokesperson said: "We take the responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of our patients extremely seriously.
"When a concern is raised we listen to the call and undertake an incident review involving experienced clinical staff. This allows us to identify clear actions so that lessons can be learnt and acted on quickly and thoroughly."New systemNHS 111 is a free one-stop number for patients with urgent, but not life-threatening symptoms, including those who need fast medical help but who are not a 999 emergency.
Trained advisers who answer the phones offer basic health advice and direct the caller to the most appropriate service for their needs - A&E or GP out-of-hours services, for example
It is designed to replace the NHS Direct advice line, as well as out-of-hours GP call centres, with a more practical service for those needing urgent but not emergency care.Start Quote"It is extremely worrying that there is still so much uncertainty around the delivery and reliability of the advice provided by NHS 111 in some areas. ”Dr Clare GeradaRoyal College of GPsBut its launch has been plagued with difficulty, with some patients facing long delays before they had their calls answered and other abandoning calls altogether.
Seven of the 46 services across England are not yet in operation and a number of others have been suspended or are receiving help from other parts of the NHS.

One case involved a patient in the West Midlands who died unexpectedly, all the cases are being reviewed.