Guest blog from Gilly Carliell Head of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement, integrated Care 24

“On a beautiful sunny May morning, my team and myself drove through the Cambridgeshire countryside to present to the Future East group on the NHS 111 service that we currently provide in Great Yarmouth & Waveney, North Essex and South Essex. Our invite had been extended by the Chair of the group – Peter Coleing – both an observer and a ‘user’ of the NHS 111 service!

So our remit was quite simple. Explain about how NHS 111 works, who operates it, dispel some ‘media myths’ and encourage people to dial it!!!

We spoke about our not for profit social enterprise remit; meaning any profits made have to go back into front line services and not the pockets of shareholders. We showed our call handler Tom and what he sees on the screen when a patient calls and talked the group through a general call. We showed our clinician and what they do and see. We reiterated that although call handlers aren’t clinicians, and they don’t profess to be, they are highly trained and highly supported by Nurses and paramedics. We had a great question and answer session where the group really drilled down and asked some probing questions. This was brilliant for us as being able to explain and defend what in essence is a great service for us all, encourages better understanding and more use! We are all responsible for the over attendance at A&E. We need to remember that A&E stands for Accident and Emergency not anything and everything!

NHS 111 is your free to call one stop shop for all your healthcare needs that aren’t a 999 emergency. Even if we feel that the call requires an ambulance, we can immediately despatch one to you. Please use the service! If you don’t feel that the service you received is the right service, complain! And then use it again to check that your complaint has made a difference. It is so important for all providers to receive your feedback and to act on it. We are all patients and we need to make sure that all of receive the service that we want.”