Welsh BMA highlights 111 service fears

Following the announcement of its national roll out, BMA Cymru Wales has warned of ‘emerging issues’ with Wales’ 111 service.

Having been piloted in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board and Carmarthenshire areas, the BMA has said that there are doubts over the 24/7 non-emergency helpline, which combines out-of-hours with NHS Direct Wales. The pilot 111 service received more than 71,000 calls in the first six months of operation, with 95 per cent of survey respondents saying they were satisfied or very satisfied with the service.

Charlotte Jones, BMA Welsh GP committee chair, said: “The design of the service makes perfect sense, but unfortunately, we are aware of several emerging issues regarding workforce sustainability, quality of triage and prioritisation of calls that need to be quickly addressed in order to make the service safe, sustainable, and effective for patients and staff alike.”

Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: ‘I’m very encouraged to see evaluation which suggests a link between 111 and a decrease in ambulance conveyance. It is also clear from feedback that this service has been valuable in supporting patients and helping the NHS to treat patients with urgent-care needs more effectively. We’ve been open and honest about the pressure our emergency departments are under, particularly this winter. People can help make a difference by using our health service sensibly. The 111 service will support people to receive the most appropriate services for their needs, at the right time and in the right place.”

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