NHS 111 service is under the spotlight

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THE NEW 111 health service has been scrutinised by a council.

The government has come under fire for the health hotline which has replaced NHS Direct in a bid to cut the number of people turning up to A&E departments and GPs surgeries unnecessarily.

Members of West Sussex County Council’s health and adult social care select committee have reviewed the service, triggered by concerns at the number of teething problems with the new service.

Members heard how demand for the telephone service, up and running in West Sussex since April, had been higher than anticipated.

Particular pressure was at peak weekend times when large numbers of people abandoned their calls 
and gave up trying to get through.

South East Coast Ambulance Service, which runs 111 in partnership with the out-of-hours GP service provider Harmoni, said more call-handlers had been recruited and performance has now improved.