NHS 111 – Is it really working?

NHS 111 was launched as a new service to make it easier to access local NHS healthcare services. People could call 111 when they needed medical help when it was not considered to be a 999 emergency.

However, a number of areas in the UK have found that the service has not been delivering the expected results. As recently as April 26th, the advice line has been withdrawn in Worcestershire after concerns over patient safety.

It has also added to unnecessary patient admissions at Basingstoke hospital and with Doctors in Cornwall claiming that NHS 111, will put “even more pressure” on Cornwall’s emergency services before it even starts, it begs the question if it was really ready for use before being rolled out.

One recent poll carried out by Doctors.net.uk poll, found that 70 per cent of members thought the NHS 111 hotline should be scrapped and that It was to blame for a 50 per cent rise in A&E attendance at some hospitals.

Let’s hope that someone in the NHS – though we wonder where the ownership for this now exists with all the recent changes that have happened – gets to grip with this and solves the problems.

Until then we suspect that NHS 111 will be costing more money doing nothing that it is actually saving. Now where have we heard that before?

Car Parking Charges and Waiting Times

We’ve updated the website pages for Car Parking charges and Waiting Times with new information.

Car Parking Charges

We’ve added a few more Trusts to the list including an entry for the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, which seems to have some very high charges – £1.00 for every 30minutes of parking time! We’ll continue to add more Trusts as we come across new changes.

Waiting Times

In light of the recent news that many of the NHS Trusts have missed their targets for A&E waiting times, we have updated this page with information on what the benchmark details are that the government pledges to meet. We don’t think we have heard anything from the Government that there have been changes to these.

Maybe these goal posts will be moved in the coming weeks?

NHS Waiting Times – Are they getting worse?

More NHS Foundation Trusts are falling behind their Waiting Times target according to this article from the Guardian, where some 32 out of 88 hospital trusts are failing to treat accident patients within four hours of arrival in A&E.

NHS Hospitals have to meet a Government set target to treat 95 % of all patients visiting A&E within a four hour window. As part of its recent report on the figures Monitor – the regulator tasked with monitoring the semi-independent NHS foundation trusts, said that these figures reflect the fact that these hospitals are really struggling to deal with an ever-increasing numbers of patients attending A&E.

In a similar survey published last December (2012) the Quality Care Commission also commented…

“…that 33% of people spent more than four hours waiting for treatment in A&E, up from 27% in 2008. It also noted a large rise in the number of patients who had to wait more than 30 minutes before seeing a nurse or doctor.”

Clearly a trend in emerging. Let’s hope that the NHS can get on top of this issue soon, but with the many changes that are about to hit the NHS over the coming months we think it will be a tough task to see an early improvement.

Raw Data

Some of the raw data that went into the creation of these reports is available as Spreadsheets (Excel) for direct download from the Department of Health website. Once you arrive at this page, you will need to scroll down to December 2012 A&E Data, it is the last file in that listing (the file name is: 2012-13 Quarter 3 : – 13 weeks to w/e 30.12.2012 (Revised 28.02.2013). Click on the filename to open or download it.

New Page and Old data

NHS Watch had been monitoring Waiting Times on its previous website for quite some time and we will begin that task again in the next few days, you can see the initial information on our main NHS Waiting Times page.

We have also discovered that much of the old data which we published has been moved to the UK’s digital National Archives, we’ll provide some links to that data as well.