Tuesday, March 11th 2014 – 9am – Jamie Arrowsmith.
West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) continues to make great strides with the NHS 111 service since it stepped in to take over the running of the contract from NHS Direct in November, 2013.
WMAS was presented with a challenging set of circumstances in which to begin running the service following a considerable amount of negative media coverage surrounding 111 and with only weeks to prepare for the busy Christmas period.
However, thanks to the hard work and dedication of staff, performance levels have been consistently impressive with plans in place to ensure the progress continues.
The implementation of an upgraded training programme for call handling staff helped improve the clinical governance process whilst all new staff have to undergo this training package before becoming operational.
NHS 111 Director Daren Fradgley said: “A lot of time and hard work has been put into developing 111 since WMAS stepped in and we believe the results are reflecting this.
“We faced a number of obstacles when stepping in to take on the service, none more so than the busy Christmas period, but everybody worked incredibly hard to ensure a safe and secure service was provided to the public.
“We will now continue that hard work to ensure we keep moving NHS 111 forward in order to make it the best service it can possibly be.”
A significant milestone was reached for the service last week when the 250,000th call was answered since WMAS stepped in as provider. Impressively, 97 per cent of those calls have been answered within 60 seconds against a national target of 95 per cent. On an increasing number of occasions the staff answer 100 per cent of calls within 60 seconds.
Call Centre Manager Liz Parker said: “The Health Advisors and Clinicians who take the calls deserve special mention because it is their hard work which is resulting in the impressive figures and ensuring patients are getting the best service possible.
“In addition, it is pleasing to see that the improved training we have put in place since taking over NHS 111 is having a positive effect on performance levels”.
Call levels have continued to gradually increase in the four months since WMAS took over the running of the service, a pattern which is expected to continue moving forward. The highest amount of calls received in one day so far was 4,534 on Saturday, December 28.