111 service is getting better - The Rugby Observer

111 service is getting better

Rugby Editorial 9th May, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

THE second of a monthly column giving an insight into the day-to-day operation of West Midlands Ambulance Service is written by Daren Fradgley, assistant chief ambulance officer and director of the West Midlands 111 service.

Following what proved to be a challenging Easter weekend, now seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect on how far the 111 service has progressed since West Midlands Service stepped in as providers in November last year.

You don’t have to travel too far back in time to discover a 111 service that was being described as in ‘turmoil’ on a national level whilst receiving heavy criticism from seemingly all parts of the media. In fact you only have to go back to last Easter when, if reports were to be believed, the service had no future, wasn’t sustainable and more damming, wasn’t safe.

Whilst the five months we have been running 111 have not been without challenges, there are clear signs of public confidence returning to the service with the number of calls we receive from across the West Midlands continuing to rise on a monthly basis.

An incredible amount of hard work has gone into developing the service in our short time in charge with a number of changes being made to training methods and the way the call centre works. There is clear evidence the changes are working as Easter has passed successfully, putting the service in a much stronger position than it was 12 months ago.

During the four-day weekend we received a staggering 21,875 calls and broke a couple of records along the way. The 6,436 calls received on Good Friday easily beat our previous highest total for a single day which was 4534 in December.

We completed another first on Monday when, across 4,988 calls, we completed the double of 100 per cent performance of answering calls within 60 seconds whilst having zero calls abandoned – when the caller hangs up before we get chance to answer.

Staff worked incredibly hard to deal with the demand, which was equivalent to a call every 15 seconds for four days, providing an excellent secure service at all times and ensuring patient safety remained at the forefront throughout.

By no means does these figures mean we are about to rest on our laurels and think the job is done, it is now we need to work harder to continue improving the service, continue restoring the public’s faith in the service and to make it accessible to as many people as possible with the aim of being in an even better position this time next Easter.

West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS 111 director Daren Fradgley (s)

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