Clinician on a laptop

NHS launch next phase of Help Us, Help You campaign

The health service is setting out to remind people of the convenience of the NHS 111 service as a study finds that a lot of people weren’t even aware of the service nor its effectiveness.

A new survey found that 39% of people didn’t know the 111 service could direct patients to the right place in just 90 seconds; the study also revealed that only 48% of people had used the phone service as well as only 9% using the online version – 31% reported that they had used neither.

To rectify this, the NHS is launching the next stage of its Help Us, Help You scheme. Members of the public will see television adverts depicting people in the comfort of their own homes travelling to a range of health settings and answering questions about their health status, whilst using the NHS 111 line.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director, said: “Last month our hard-working staff contended with another record month of A&E attendances and the most serious ambulance call-outs, alongside winter viruses that are seeing rapidly increasing numbers of patients in hospital with flu and Covid – new figures show a huge increase in calls to NHS 111, which is understandable with concerns about these winter viruses – including strep A.

“TV ads that are being launched this week will remind people how easy it is to get healthcare advice from the online service – it is available 24/7 and can provide the most appropriate local treatment option for non-emergency medical issues quickly, without needing to leave your home.”

The latest winter data indicates that the run-up to Christmas is proving to be as busy as feared, with the second week of December seeing the 111 service receive more than 700,000 calls in that week alone. This was tantamount to over a 60% increase to the week before.

Wider statistics show that the NHS 111 line has been used by more than 6.5 million people in the last 12 months, with an average of 20,000 daily users being directed to the right type of care.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, said: “NHS 111 online is a vital service that can offer patients the right advice as quickly and conveniently as possible – helping reduce pressure on our busy A&E departments.

“The coming weeks and months will be challenging, so it is essential people know the services available to them, to help access the treatment they need.”

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