Damning report shows need for change in NHS 111 services

Damning report shows need for change in NHS 111 services, says UNISON South West

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report rating the NHS 111 services run by South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWAST) as inadequate has been responded to by UNISON South West.

UNISON South Western Ambulance branch co-secretary Chris Nelson said:

“This is a damning report from the CQC that shows the need for change nationally in the provision of NHS111 services. The public deserve a better service, and it’s stressful for staff working in an environment where they aren’t able to provide the care and support the public need at often difficult times.

“If there is any silver lining to be had, it’s that there are no surprises in the CQC report. Changes were being made to deal with the problems identified before the CQC report, and UNISON has been working with SWAST management to help. There is a long way to go yet if the aspiration plan for NHS111 is to be realised. The CQC have commended the 111 staff (predominantly UNISON members) who are working as well as they can under incredible pressure.

“We know from members in other 111 operators that the problems in SWAST are present across the region and nationally. The NHS111 service is poorly understood by NHS England and woefully under-funded, as a result under-staffed with systems that are not adequate for the needs of patients.

“With the potential for more than 120 member job losses in the service possible this Autumn, SWAST doesn’t have an easy ride to come. UNISON and its members are doing everything we can to support an effective 111 service but there must be enough people employed to do that, which is increasingly difficult”