South Essex: NHS 111 Service A Success

29 July 2013, 15:31 | Updated: 29 July 2013, 16:02

After concerns about the safety of the health advice hotline 111 south Essex are being asked to share how they've made a success of it round here.

NHS Direct provides the non-emergency phone line in nine regions of England but has said that it is ``seeking to withdraw from the contracts it entered into''.

A spokeswoman said the contracts, which cover more than a third of the population of England, were ``financially unsustainable''.

It's after an undercover investigation found concerns about staff shortages and long waits for callers elsewhere in the country.

NHS Direct originally won 11 of the 46 contracts across England to provide the 111 service.

Earlier this month the organisation announced that it would be unable to provide the service in North Essex and Cornwall.

But now it is also planning to stop providing the service in Somerset, Buckinghamshire, east London and the City, south east London, Sutton and Merton, West Midlands, Lancashire and Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.

The service in south Essex, covering the Castle Point and Rochford Districts is run by not for profit organisation Integrated Care 24 who have topped the national target for calls to be answered within 60 seconds, reaching 98.7 per cent.

Between March 2013 and May 2013 they received 52,000 calls.

Only 7 per cent resulted in ambulance dispatch and just 7 per cent were recommended to attend A&E which is below the national average.

Dr Roger Gardiner, GP for NHS Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and lead clinician for NHS 111 service in south Essex, said: "We are very pleased to see the local service performing so well and happy to share our experience with other areas. We are confident that the local service is robust and able to cope in a timely manner with the demands placed upon it."