Public experiences of NHS 111

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch East Sussex undertook a survey of people’s experiences of using NHS 111 to gain further insight about this service.  They received 82 responses.

Respondents’ experiences of NHS 111 were very mixed. Over half felt NHS 111 had resolved their needs, but nearly two in five did not.

The most common rating of NHS 111 was ‘Poor’ (28%), but 22% rated it as ‘Excellent. The average rating was 3.1 out of 5.

Users appreciated access to 24/7 support, especially when GPs and other services were closed. Verbal advice, clinical call backs and referrals were especially valued.

Respondents had mixed views on the standard triage questions asked by call handlers, some viewing this as a barrier.

Speed of response was a key issue, with half of respondents rating this as Poor/Very Poor. This included initial contact, call backs and onward referrals to other services.

Two-thirds of people indicated they were Likely/Very Likely to use the service again

Three-quarters of respondents accessed NHS 111 directly, with the remainder referred by others. The most common referrers being GPs, the Ambulance Service and pharmacies.

 Two-thirds of NHS 111 users were referred or signposted to other services. The services most referred or signposted to were Emergency Departments, the Ambulance Service and GPs.

The services most accessed by people who felt NHS 111 had not or could not resolve their needs were their own GP, the Ambulance Service and Emergency Departments.

Responses suggest that there is a reasonable likelihood that a high proportion of NHS 111 users will end up using GP, Emergency Departments and Ambulance Services. This is a combination of NHS 111 referral, and direct access where users feel NHS 111 has not met their needs.

The report contains five recommendations and a response from the provider

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General details

Report title 
Public experiences of NHS 111
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch East Sussex
Date of publication 
Thursday, 4 August, 2022
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 April, 2022
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 31 May, 2022
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Urgent and emergency care services 
NHS 111

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.