Tens of thousands of Hertfordshire residents calling 111 NHS helpline each month
PUBLISHED: 17:13 15 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:13 15 January 2020
More than 31,000 people in Hertfordshire are calling the non-emergency NHS helpline each month, according to figures presented to the county council this week.
Figures reported to Herts County Council's health scrutiny committee yesterday (Tuesday) show an average of 31,700 Herts residents are calling 111 every month.
According to the data, every month 1,500 callers will receive home visits and 2,377 - or 7.5 per cent of callers - need to be seen at an accident and emergency department.
A further 11,500 callers are directed to 'out of hours' services, 5,600 to urgent treatment centres and 4,200 called back with further advice.
David Archer, chief executive of the county's 111 provider Herts Urgent Care, provided the insight into the service to the scrutiny committee.
Councillors were told the most common reason for calling the service was for advice relating to abdominal pain - followed by dental problems.
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Following the meeting, committee chair Councillor Seamus Quilty praised the "outstanding" service, pointing to its success and role in reducing the pressure on health services in the county.
He said: "I was very pleased with the results that the integrated urgent care provided in relation to the 111 service - which is working extremely well in Hertfordshire.
"More than 30,000 people are ringing the service each month. That's thousands of people that aren't turning up at A&E and doctors' surgeries and other areas that they could go to."
According to the data presented to the committee, calls to the service in Hertfordshire are answered within 33 seconds - two seconds quicker than the national average.
Most of the calls to the service, it was reported, are at the weekend. On weekdays the busiest time is between 6pm and 8pm.
The 'not-for-profit' Herts Urgent Care was set up in 2007, with the aim of providing high-quality advice to Hertfordshire residents through the Integrated Urgent Care service.
The IUC - formed of the 111 hotline, a system of telephone triage, home visit, primary care centres and home visits - operates NHS England's clinical assessment service, which validates A&E referrals and some ambulance calls.