Department of Health tests online NHS 111 helpline
Can anybody help? Hello?
The Department of Health is trialling an NHS 111 online service as part of a plan to provide a service to complement locally driven telephone services.
The department plans to have rolled out the 111 helpline by April 2013. It is supposed to replace NHS Direct as the first port of call for patients with urgent, but not life-threatening, symptoms.
A report on the progress of the pilot, which has been running for a couple of weeks, is due in September, those close to the project say.
A cross-disciplinary team of representatives from across the NHS – including NHS Direct, the Department of Health and NHS Choices – is working on the local pilot. The team will be looking at the options for delivering the NHS 111 service through digital channels. Local clinicians, commissioners and the ambulance service are also involved in the pilot.
The pilot will be trialled with a small group of users in selected areas, integrated to the existing online health and symptom checkers at www.nhs.uk/nhsdirect.
A project report will be used to inform the Department of Health on its options for consideration as part of a national specification for digital services.
The Department of Health said of the pilot: "The Department of Health has made a commitment to provide the NHS 111 service online by April 2013, alongside the telephone service. We are currently working with the NHS, including the NHS Direct and NHS Choices team on a local pilot to look at the options for delivering an NHS 111 service through digital channels."
News of the online plans follow a report that a number of private sector government service providers had chosen not to bid for the multimillion pound replacement programme to provide a new 24-hour 111 helpline. Although Capita would not confirm or deny that it had withdrawn from the tender process, it outlined its reservations in a statement.
This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.
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The phone service has been running in test areas for a few years.
For a cheesy video that explains how the back end system works, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA-zhgY7XII It's sort of interesting for techies. Though you may wish to jump 2 minutes in.
It started in County Durham in 2010.
It's now running in County Durham and Darlington, Lancashire (excluding West Lancashire), Lincolnshire, the London boroughs of Croydon and Hillingdon, Luton, North Derbyshire and Nottingham City, and on the Isle of Wight.
The tag line is "111, when it's less urgent than 999".
The idea is that is replaces NHS Direct, and all local urgent care phone services, so out of hours access to GPs for example will go through them. This makes it easier for patients. 111 is also free to call, even from mobiles.
The other advantage is that if you ring it and need an ambulance, they can dispatch one without any delay, exactly as if you had rung 999. In fact, in some areas (Durham and Lancashire for a start) 111 actually puts you through to the ambulance control room anyway, just as a lesser priority.
It's like the 101 number you ring to get the police if it's not an emergency.
Re: NHS Direct
NHS Direct disaster......
My daughter high temperature, holding both ears screaming all evening, called NHS Direct who advised a spoonful of capol every couple of hours.....
Finally got hold of Doctor, diagnosed severe ear infection and prescribed antibiotics immediately. Within an hour began to work. Without the antibiotics there was a risk of blisters developing on the ear drum.
If in doubt don't rely on them, insist on getting a doctor out.
It's totally daft using 111. Most line cards do support loop disconnect so a child playing with the phone or someone trying to get a faulty line to work by going on- and off-hook three times could very easily dial 111 by accident. Why do you think the emergency number is 112 and not 111?
And yes I do still use an LD phone (amongst others) - a classic Ferranti Flip-phone that matches my kitchen decor.