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NHS 111 ‘dangerously understaffed’

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A former NHS 111 helpline employer has spoken up about how dangerously understaffed” the 111 helpline is, with 75% of calls going unanswered as a result. Irsah Tahir had been an NHS 111 call handler in the Derby centre before leaving as a result of the “massive” pressure. She said that the helpline was “swamped” with calls, resulting in the majority of them going unanswered. She added that nurses were often not available to provide assistance, so call staff were forced to provide medical advice.

The organisation that runs the Derby centre, Derbyshire Health United, denied the claims. A spokesman from the organisation said that Ms Tahir had been employed over easter when there had been a particularly high demand on the service. He said that they had carried out their own investigation following her concerns, but did not find there to be a problem.

7.29m calls handled from Jan-Jul

NHS 111 was founded in 2010 to ease pressure from the 999 emergency number. It was put in place to provide medical assistance to those seeking immediate medical help, but for non-life-threatening cases. January-July 2015 saw a total of 7.29m calls handled in England alone.

Ms Tahir said in an interview: “We were always short-staffed. There was never enough nurses. I’m not medically trained and I just don’t think I was equipped to make those decisions.”

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