PEOPLE are being encouraged to share their thoughts on the NHS’ 111 service and what they want to see from it in future.
The clinical commissioning groups covering Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham and Havant are about to start a process to award a new, five-year contract for the service.
But before they do, they want to hear what people would like to see from the service and how they think it should work in the future.
Dr Jim Hogan, a Portsmouth GP and the local commissioning lead for urgent care, said: ‘Nationally the NHS 111 service has often attracted negative headlines but the local service is generally well rated by the people who use it.
‘In the years ahead the NHS 111 service is likely to become a far more high-profile and important part of the health service.
‘The role of the service may change radically, and so it is important that we get a sense of what people think.
‘For example, would people be happy to book an urgent GP appointment using the 111 service, and if not, why not?
‘Similarly, if people had the option to contact a pharmacy expert using the phone service, would that be welcome?
‘Looking further ahead, we could even consider more radical options – perhaps a complete overhaul of the system so that dialling 111 was the single call you need to make to access all local NHS care, except the emergency services.’
Dr Hogan added the CCGs were keen to develop the 111 phoneline so that it offers people a bigger, better service.
‘To help us get this right we would like to hear what people would want from the service, and what their concerns are, so we can consider those issues when we are setting up the contract,’ he said.
The NHS 111 service is available 24 hours a day and should be used when someone needs urgent medical help which is not life-threatening.
As well as asking the public for views, GPs and other NHS employees are also being asked to suggest how the service could be improved.
To give your views visit surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NHS111service.
Portsmouth and surrounding area NHS 111 service facts
Calls per month: 44,000
Calls answered within 60 seconds: 96 per cent
Calls transferred to 999: 10 per cent
Callers advised to attend A&E: seven percent (despite the common myth “There’s no point calling them, they’ll just send you to A&E anyway”)