Healthwatch Lancashire has published a report based on the findings of research with residents of Lancashire which shows that 20% of people are not aware of the NHS 111 service.
Throughout January, a time when winter-pressures were having a dramatic impact on local healthcare services, Healthwatch Lancashire conducted a study with 1,163 members of the public to learn how aware residents in Lancashire are of the NHS 111 service and if those who have used it found it helpful.
Healthwatch Lancashire has shared the report with North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, who deliver the NHS 111 service in Lancashire, and copies have been provided to those who commission the service.
Gill Brown, Healthwatch Lancashire Chief Executive, said: “The results of our NHS 111 research has identified that more people in Lancashire need to be made aware of the NHS 111 service.”
Ian Moses, Head of 111 Operations at North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “We would firstly like to thank Healthwatch Lancashire for carrying out this survey into the use of the NHS 111 Service in their region. Findings such as these are invaluable to building a safe, dependable and useful service for the people of the North West, when in need of urgent medical attention. As a service we welcome feedback from users, the community and healthcare professionals.”
This study has been carried out by Healthwatch Lancashire staff and volunteers in a variety of locations in Lancashire, which included hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies, community groups, schools and colleges, and the survey was also made available to complete on the Healthwatch Lancashire website.
Healthwatch Lancashire encourages members of the public to share their positive stories or concerns from hospitals, GP surgeries, dentists, pharmacies, ambulance services or care home so that these can be passed on to those who are responsible for managing and regulating services.
Experiences can be shared with Healthwatch Lancashire by clicking here to find a service.
Healthwatch Lancashire have received some great stories from members of the public since the campaign launched. Jean, 84 from Blackpool, has had two great experiences with the NHS 111 service in the past six months. Read her story below.
Jean first called 111 in summer 2014 after slipping in the bath and hitting her side. The next day she was unable to get down the stairs and called 111 for help. An ambulance was sent and she was diagnosed with a cracked rib. The paramedic rang Blackpool Victoria Hospital and a doctor advised medication and a prescription was made available at her local pharmacy. An x-ray was also arranged and carried out.
Jean developed a bloodshot eye on New Year’s Eve 2014, only a few weeks ago, when she needed to ring 111 for a second time. On New Year’s Day, her eye became worse and Jean had developed a very bad headache and twitchy mouth. Her son, concerned she was having a stroke, called the NHS 111 service and an ambulance arrived with what Jean describes as “two excellent paramedics”. They took Jean’s blood pressure and took to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where, after a short wait, she was told the tests revealed a slightly raised blood pressure. Jean was discharged the same day and advised to see her GP in three weeks time.
Jean wanted to remain anonymous and the image (right) is a stock photograph.
Do you have a 111 story? Share your story by email at email@example.com
The 111 study has now closed. Please feel free to share your 111 experiences with us here
Full statement from North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Ian Moses, Head of 111 Operations says:
“We would firstly like to thank Healthwatch Lancashire for carrying out this survey into the use of the NHS 111 Service in their region. Findings such as these are invaluable to building a safe, dependable and useful service for the people of the North West, when in need of urgent medical attention. As a service we welcome feedback from users, the community and healthcare professionals.
“As the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is currently managing the service as a stability partner our main task has been to stabilise the service as a whole and subsequently we have slowly started to build up the presence of NHS 111 throughout the North West. It is very positive to see that nearly 80% of those surveyed have heard of the NHS 111 service and that over 76% of people who have accessed the service thought it was helpful.
“Whilst this survey appears to demonstrate high numbers of referrals to ambulance response, the overall ambulance referral rate is actually only 10% of our total calls, which emphasises that NHS 111 is here for all kinds of health advice, from potential emergencies to simple medication and pharmacy opening time queries.
“We would encourage all North West residents to use NHS 111 if they are in need of urgent medical attention, if they think they cannot wait for a doctor’s appointment, if they think they may need to attend an emergency department or if they just require advice on the correct care for their needs.”
NHS 111 is a free to call service operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is contactable from any location throughout the North West as well as all England and Scotland.