Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has today welcomed the success of the 111 pilot and commissioned plans to consider how the service can be taken forward in the future.
The 111 number directs patients to the most clinically appropriate service for their needs, providing health advice and urgent care support through a free-to-call telephone service. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The service brings together NHS Direct Wales and GP Out-of-Hours call handling and triage into a single service, simplifying access to services for patients supporting them to make the right choices about their care.
The service, which differs from other UK models by having a greater proportion of clinical staff within it, was launched as a pilot in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABM), in October 2016, and extended to Carmarthenshire in May 2017.
Between 4 October 2016 and 30 April 2017 the service in ABM has dealt with in excess of 73,000 calls
Vaughan Gething said:
“The feedback we have had from local clinicians, operational staff and, more importantly, the public who have using the 111 service has been very positive. This is welcome news and clear sign that the pilot has been a success so far.
“I am very pleased with the progress that has been made to date and would like to thank the 111 team, clinicians and operational staff for their hard work in delivering this service. I was fortunate to see the 111 team in action recently and was impressed by what I saw.
“I have commissioned an evaluation of the pilot so far so we can learn lessons for the future. I have also asked the 111 Programme Board to provide me with a robust plan by autumn 2017 for taking the service forward. I expect this plan to set out options for how the 111 service could operate post pilot, as a national service to support patients and the NHS to treat patients with urgent care needs more effectively.
“I believe 111 will provide us with significant opportunities in enabling patients to receive the most appropriate service for their need, at the right time in the right place. A number of big decisions still need to be made, but I have made it clear that this is about doing it right, and not doing it quickly.”