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23.03.16

More medical knowledge needed in NHS 111 centres – Lord Prior

Health minister Lord Prior of Brampton has said that “significant improvements” need to be made to the much-criticised NHS 111 helpline, but it can be a “vital part” in how urgent care is delivered in Britain.

During a House of Lords session, Lord Prior was questioned about the safety of the helpline for less urgent medical matters.

He said that to improve the service, 111 hubs need to have more clinicians and call handlers need to have access to the patient’s electronic summary care record. In the past, the hubs have been accused of having an ‘extremely worrying’ lack of trained staff.

The 111 service has been involved in a number of recent scandals, including allegations that South East Coast Ambulance Trust introduced a secret protocol to delay responding to calls, and the death of one-year-old William Mead from sepsis which went undiagnosed despite his parents contacting 111.

“We recognise that significant improvements need to be made to the 111 service, but it can be a vital part of the way that we deliver urgent care in Britain,” said Lord Prior.

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