‘111 is working well in Herts’

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Health chiefs have reassured that the county’s 111 number is working well despite fears about the NHS service elsewhere.

The 24-hour health number was launched in Herts – one of the first pilots in England – during October last year.

It allows patients to access healthcare and get advice in an emergency that is not life-threatening.

GP Dr Keith Hodge, Herts joint clinical lead on the call centre project, said; “The local service is robust, well established and coping in a timely manner with all the demands placed upon it.”

Nationally there have been reports of calls going unanswered and poor advice being given, prompting case reviews.

In Herts, the helpline serves a population of around 1.2 million people and its specially trained call handlers, who are supported by experienced nurses or paramedics, received a total of 30,614 calls in March.

The caller is assessed and either given information or referred directly to the most appropriate service, from the dentist to, in the most serious of cases, an ambulance being called out.