NHS 111 launched on Wednesday 4 March to help people with rapid advice about coronavirus as enquiries about the outbreak have increased dramatically. More than one million people have been helped by the dedicated NHS online support.
Clinical call handlers’ time have been freed up by the new online service, and are now able to focus on 111 phone callers who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms.
An extra 120,000 calls have been received by NHS 111 in the first week of providing the service, and data shows that NHS 111 calls have increased by more than one third since the same time last year.
Initial call responders have increased by 20% as 500 additional responders have been trained to help with the additional increase in callers asking for advice regarding the coronavirus.
Convenient advice is being made readily available, but the public are also being encouraged to help curb the spread of the virus by following public health advice by increasing the time and frequency of hand washing among other things.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “NHS staff continue to work around the clock to ensure everyone gets the care, advice and support that they need to deal with coronavirus.
“With more than one million people using the new online service, 111 online is helping people to get specific information and advice at the touch of a button, helping to give people quick advice, increase capacity in the NHS and free up clinicians’ time.
“To stay well and help stop the spread, people should wash their hands, cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze and put used tissues in the bin immediately.”
The NHS in England are making additional investments available to be utilised to increase clinical advice being offered telephonically as the demand of help increases.
In only 8 days between 27 February and 5 March, NHS 111 already answered 389,779 calls.