Over the past four months, NHS 111 has seen a massive surge in online users. More people are using digital channels to seek health advice and medical help during lockdown periods because social distancing had to be practiced due to the pandemic.
Between 26 February and 11 August, more than 30 million users accessed NHS 111 online. Health advice based on travel history and symptoms was given to more than six million users after they had completed the online assessment.
The service was used more than 950,000 times a day during the peak of the crisis in mid-March, 95 times higher than previously recorded. NHS 111 online is a trusted source for government and NHS guidance as it is updated continuously to ensure the best health advice is available to its users during the pandemic.
To keep the service aligned with the latest information on the coronavirus like the newest known symptoms, more than 70 updates were made to ensure sound public health advice.
Additional services like getting an isolation note and receiving text messages with help and advice on managing symptoms at home were also made available through NHS 111 for people who had reported their symptoms on NHS 111 online.
NHS 111 online is available across Britain and can be accessed via the NHS App or on 111.nhs.uk. A new dashboard has also been made available with the latest data.
Based on the number of triages going through NHS pathways, the dashboard is acts as an early indicator and can warn users of potential local outbreaks.
Ben Davison, Director of Citizen Health Tech at NHS Digital, said: “These figures show how important the use of digital tools is in supplying vital health information to members of the public during this outbreak.
“Since the start of the pandemic we have seen the number of NHS 111 online users increase dramatically
“This is helping to relieve the burden on frontline NHS services as well as helping to get vast numbers of people the correct advice for their condition.
“This is a fluid and fast-changing situation and we are working closely with NHSX, NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and other organisations across the system to develop robust and resilient solutions to a range of new issues.”