Senior nurse tells of acute pressure on NHS 111

A senior nurse describes to The Guardian how the NHS 111 telephone advice service is increasingly unable to help those who ring seeking help and voices her fears that patients with serious conditions may be suffering avoidable harm as a result.

I’ve worked in NHS 111 for more than 10 years. But in all that time, I’ve never seen it in the state it’s in now. It’s shocking. In my experience, everybody in 111 is on their knees at the moment. We just can’t deal with the sheer number of calls and requests for help that we are getting.

111 is a very important service, so it needs to be working properly. It’s basically where people can ring to get advice about a whole range of medical problems when GP surgeries are shut. They ring, tell us what the problem is and then they get a call back, depending on how urgent their symptoms are, and then they get help – or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work anyway. We can advise someone to go to see their GP, or send an electronic prescription to their local pharmacy or in some cases request an ambulance to take them to A&E.

Full article in The Guardian, 6 May 2022