OVER 95,000 calls have been made to NHS 111 in Lincolnshire since it launched on this day last year, with it now averaging around 2,500 calls a week.
Lincolnshire was one of the pathfinders trialling the new telephone based service designed to help people access the most appropriate healthcare service for urgent medical problems.
The government has since announced the urgent care number 111 will be rolled out across the UK by April 2013.
An independent evaluation of calls made up to 30 October 2011 showed 88 per cent of people in Lincolnshire would call the service again and 76 per cent were ‘very satisfied’ with the way the 111 service handled their call.
A third (33 per cent) of callers were directed to a primary care service, such as the out of hours service, walk-in centre or GP surgery. Ten per cent required an ambulance, nine percent received home care advice and six percent were advised to visit A&E.
Chief executive for NHS Lincolnshire, John McIvor, said: “In a county as rural as Lincolnshire it’s important that our patients are able to get the right care first time and are treated in the most appropriate healthcare setting for their needs.
“There are times when people are unsure what to do or where to go for help, particularly when they have unexpected or urgent healthcare needs. NHS 111 assesses the caller’s needs and directs them to the best service for them whilst reducing unnecessary pressure on A&E and emergency services.
“I would encourage people in Lincolnshire to use the 111 number if they are unsure of their symptoms, especially during the cold and flu season when demand on NHS services is already very high.”