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More than 60% of NHS 111 calls directed to primary care

In June 2015 61% of triaged NHS 111 calls were directed to primary care, compared to 9% recommended to A&E, new NHS England statistics reveal.

Of these calls, 11% had ambulances dispatched, 9% were recommended to A&E, 61% were recommended to primary care, 4% were recommended to another service, and 16% were not recommended to visit any service. 

In June, the helpline took an average of 32,904 calls per day; the lowest average since October 2014. Perhaps due to this decline, 94.4% of calls answered in June were picked up within 60 seconds, the highest proportion since October 2014.

Each month from now on, due to Bruce Keogh's recommendation that we “standardise reporting arrangements so that performance statistics for A&E, referral to treatment times, cancer, diagnostics, ambulances, NHS 111 and delayed transfers of care" a report on each of these topics will all be published on one day each month.

This is the first time that this data has been published and reflecting on the results Dr Barbara Hakin, national director of commissioning operations for NHS England, said: “This information gives us a clearer and more comprehensive picture of the current operational performance of the NHS than has ever been presented before.

“Across the board the data shows increased pressures: ambulance journeys up 7.9% year-on-year, emergency admissions up 2.7%, and diagnostic tests up 5.9%, all supported by a resilient NHS with remarkable frontline staff,” she added.

The mean average episode length of a call in June 2015 was 15 minutes 12 seconds, similar to 15 minutes eight seconds in May 2015.

NHS England is now looking at mental health waiting times statistics following the same pattern once available, as well as considering whether other data collections can be similarly aligned.