NHS 111 out-of-hours GP helpline failing to hit targets in north London

Concerns have been raised about the NHS non-emergency 111 helpline

Concerns have been raised about the NHS non-emergency 111 helpline - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The new NHS non-emergency 111 helpline in Camden is failing to meet its targets, new figures reveal.

The number of calls being answered within 60 seconds was below 40 per cent during one day in April and was below the national target of 95 per cent of calls answered within 60 seconds on all but three days in April, the figures show.

But performance has been consistently above 80 per cent since April 15.

The number of abandoned calls also reached 18 per cent compared to a national indicator of just five per cent.

According to the report, the percentage of calls being abandoned on the new 111 service in Camden was higher for most days in April and May than the London average.

Last month, the Whittington Hospital saw an 11.5 per cent surge in emergency admissions which hospital bosses said were fuelled by the controversial 111 helpline.

Critics said the use of non-medical professionals to answer calls may be leading to people being wrongly referred to A&E.

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But NHS 111 service in Camden claim there is no evidence that increased attendance at the hospital was attributable to the service.

The latest 111 helpline figures were included in a report for a joint health scrutiny committee meeting at Islington Town Hall on June 6, attended by councillors from across north London boroughs where the new telephone service operates.

The service is provided by London Central and West Unscheduled Care Collaborative (LCW) which replaced the former NHS Direct helpline in April.

A spokesperson for the NHS 111 service in Camden said: “Currently over 92 per cent of calls to NHS 111 across north central London are being answered within 60 seconds.

“NHS 111 is delivering a clinically safe service for people in Camden. There are times when we have received higher call volumes and we are working hard to ensure that local people will receive the same high service whenever they call NHS 111.”