111 First is a new national programme, which encourages people with an urgent, but not life-threatening health problem, to contact NHS 111 before attending an Emergency Department (A&E). By doing this they can be directed straight to the right service for their needs. The new system went live in Northamptonshire at the end of 2020.
The purpose of NHS 111 First is to:
- Reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in A&E settings
- Protect A&E for those whose need is most urgent
- Signpost and support the public to receive the right care in the right place, first time
- Reduce waiting times for treatment
The NHS 111 service will take some details from patients to ensure they are directed to the right service, first time.
If A&E is the right service for them, a time window will be allocated to help ensure social distancing is maintained and help to keep the public and NHS service safe. Staff will be on hand within A&E departments to direct patients to the appropriate part of the waiting room or advise if there are any delays.
If it is determined another service is better placed to provide treatment to a patient, they will be redirected to that service by NHS 111 and where possible an appointment will be booked for them.
Patients arriving at A&E without contacting NHS 111 beforehand will not be turned away. A clinical navigator will confirm if a patient needs to be seen by a doctor in A&E or if there is another service which is more suitable to treat them. Patients who need to be seen within A&E will be treated according to clinical need but may be subject to longer waits than those who have come through the NHS 111 First route.
Find out more about NHS 111 First at http://www.healthwatchnorthamptonshire.co.uk/news/2020-12-03/nhs-111-first
Northamptonshire was selected as an early implementer of the programme and piloted it from late October 2020, prior to the national launch on 1 December 2020.
With NHS Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Healthwatch Northamptonshire would like to find out what people think of this new service and hear the experiences of those who have used NHS 111 since 23 October 2020.
The short survey asks people what they think about the service, whether they have used it or not, and asks those who have used it to share more about their experience. The survey findings will be used by Northamptonshire CCG to make sure the system works for the residents of Northamptonshire.
The survey is available online at http://www.healthwatchnorthamptonshire.co.uk/nhs-111-first-survey (where it can be read in other languages by those using a computer) or paper copies can be sent to groups or individuals in the post. Anyone needing help to complete it or who would like to complete it over the phone can call 0300 002 0010 or ask for a call back. We are particularly keen to hear from those with a hearing or sight impairment.
There is also the opportunity for people to give more feedback through small online focus groups (sign up at https://www.healthwatchnorthamptonshire.co.uk/nhs-111-first-sign-form or contact Healthwatch Northamptonshire, details below).
Dr Emma Donnelly and Dr Nathan Spencer, Clinical Leads, Urgent Care, NHS Northamptonshire CCG said: “The NHS 111 First programme went live over the autumn and encourages local people to contact NHS 111 before attending A&E so they can be directed straight to the right service for their needs. If you live in Northamptonshire and had an urgent problem, which you thought might need A&E and used the NHS 111 First service in this way since 23 October 2020, we are keen to hear your views of the service.
“Whether you have had a positive or not quite as positive experience of NHS 111 First, please let us know because it is only through gathering the views of our population that we can build on what is going well and improve on what is not going quite as well. Local people who have used the NHS 111 First service can either take part in one of the focus groups, or take a few minutes to complete the online survey.”
For more information, to help share the survey or for help completing the survey call Healthwatch Northamptonshire on 0300 002 0010 or email email@example.com