NHS 111 will be enhanced to allow clinical staff to view patients’ medical information under plans to overhaul urgent and emergency care provision announced today.
NHS England’s national medical director Sir Bruce Keogh has published a report on the first stage of his review of urgent and emergency care, aiming to make it more responsive and personal, as well as deliver better safety and clinical outcomes.
It says the NHS will enhance the 111 telephone triage service to create a 24-hour, personalised priority contact service.
“This enhanced service will have knowledge about people’s medical problems, and allow them to speak directly to a nurse, doctor or other healthcare professional if that is the most appropriate way to provide the help and advice they need,” the report says.
“It will also be able to directly book a call back from, or an appointment with, a GP or at whichever urgent or emergency care facility can best deal with the problem.”
NHS England has put NHS 111 procurements on hold while it develops a new NHS 111 service specification, which will go live during 2015-2016. This will be designed in line with the recommendations of Sir Bruce’s review.
The report says clinicians in the new NHS 111 service will have access to relevant aspects of a patient’s medical and care information, if they consent to this being available.
It will allow patients to speak directly to a wider range of professionals, including a mental health specialist or pharmacist if appropriate.
It will also be able to directly book a patient an appointment at whatever local service suits their needs
“That could include a booked call back from a GP, a pharmacist review at a local chemist open for extended hours, an appointment at an urgent care centre, or a home visit by a community or psychiatric nurse,” the report says.
It will have direct links to the 999 ambulance service and enhanced ability to book appointments at emergency centres.
Sir Bruce’s review also emphasises the need to ensure patients are properly informed and empowered to take care of themselves, specifically via information available on the internet.
More than 90% of the population now have access to NHS 111 and 97% of calls are answered within 60 seconds. The service received nearly 600,000 calls in September.