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Nottinghamshire County Council question lack of data to assess performance of NHS 111 service in the county

A lack of information from the NHS 111 phone service means its effectiveness in Nottinghamshire is too hard to measure, councillors have said.

DHU Healthcare, a not-for-profit community interest company, is the service provider for NHS 111 services in Nottinghamshire.

Representatives from the organisation spoke to Nottinghamshire county councillors at a health scrutiny committee meeting on January 16.

County Hall in West Bridgford, headquarters of Nottinghamshire County Council.
County Hall in West Bridgford, headquarters of Nottinghamshire County Council.

The NHS 111 service is designed to help people access urgent medical help and can be accessed online, through the NHS app or by calling 111.

The service, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC), provides advice and callbacks from medical staff.

Its statistics show Nottinghamshire is currently fifth highest in the country in comparison to other regions in terms of NHS 111 performance.

But councillors questioned the lack of data put forward by DHU for them to analyse.

DHU Healthcare representative Dr Tarun Sharma, clinical director, told councillors the data was not broken down more than at a regional level.

Jonathan Wheeler said: “I have to be honest, I am quite disappointed overall as the point of this was to look at Nottinghamshire.

“There’s no breakdown in terms of Nottinghamshire itself to look at.

“My concern is people in parts of Nottinghamshire might not be accessing the service.

“Some people might be waiting to go to A&E or ringing 999 instead.

“If there is a disparity across Nottinghamshire, that shows more work needs to be done to encourage people to use 111.”

The service is commissioned by the Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board (ICB), which organises local NHS services.

Liz Cowley of the ICB said: “It’s something we can have a look at.

“As we don’t commission it on that level, colleagues will find it hard to answer that question.

“That’s not to say we can’t look at that breakdown.”

Dr Sharma said: “We can break it down by region and we can then break it down by GP surgeries. I have never seen the data in any other form.

“As far as we’re concerned it doesn’t matter where the caller comes from.”

Michelle Welsh said: “I am shocked that the level at which you commission this service isn’t broken down by area in Nottinghamshire given the endless conversations we have about health inequalities.

“I think the effectiveness of 111 is equally as important as how quickly you answer the phone.

“People in the south of Nottinghamshire live 7.5 years longer than people in the north. It is critical that we analyse health inequalities.

“The data I want to know is how long is that call back and what is the result of it?

“This isn’t the usual type of level of detail we would expect to get at health scrutiny.

“It’s hard for me to go away from this meeting saying you are meeting the needs of people in Nottinghamshire.”

Bethan Eddy added: “A meeting doesn’t go by here where we don’t mention 111.

“I like data and it would be really interesting to see. I’d also like to know the breakdown of hours.”

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