Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Surge in abandoned NHS 111 calls


The extent of the new NHS non-emergency advice line’s teething problems has been laid bare after official figures revealed a stark rise in abandoned calls.

The number of people who hung up after waiting for more than 30 seconds increased from 6,976 in February to 29,100 in March, according to NHS England figures.

And the average call length also increased from 14.19 minutes in February to almost 18 minutes in March.

However, it should also be noted that the number of calls to the line increased by more than half a million between the same timeframe.

Last week, leading doctors warned that the ”problematic” roll- out of the NHS 111 advice line has left patients not knowing where to turn to for help.

The Royal College of General Practitioners said patients have ”lost confidence” in the new non-emergency number before it is even fully up and running across the country.

The service was supposed to be rolled out on April 1, but officials were forced to relax the deadline after it emerged that many of the advice lines - which are run by 44 individual local bodies across the country - were not ready to ”go live”.

And, more than a month on, seven of the regional bodies are still not ready to start giving advice to patients in their areas.

Patients have been complaining about calls going unanswered and poor advice being given, especially at weekends, which has led to hospitals being inundated with patients who could be treated elsewhere.

Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.


Readers' comments (6)

  • It was only a few days ago that we had Jane Middleton, Chief Nurse for England, telling us that NHS 111 was doing well. This woman is such a government puppet that one can no longer credit a word she says.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Perhaps she was misquoted out of context, i.e. "going well" changed to "doing well" as in NHS 111 was going, well what do you expect from a condem privatisation plan.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Kadiyali Srivatsa

    BBC News, today "The warnings come as fears grow over whether the NHS can continue to cope with rising demand.
    A&E attendances have risen by 50% in a decade and this winter the NHS in England started missing its four-hour waiting time target.Admission of children to hospitals has increased by 30% (Arch Dis of Child May 2013).

    I anticipated this coming and spent years perfecting a simple tool based on my 30 years experience and evidence based medicine. Doctor are scared of this tool because it will reduce their income. The method I used will drastically reduce calls and visits to hospital.

    Its FREE and takes only few seconds to register. This tool will help junior doctors, nurses, receptionists and patients.
    Article in Archive The warnings come as fears grow over whether the NHS can continue to cope with rising demand.

    To tell you frankly, I do not have any thing to gain but feel proud that I could contribute something that thousands of people will benefit

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • How do you expect a call handler with only computer use training to give anything except "hit and miss" advice?

    These Health Care Advisers aren't trained to listen to what the caller is actually saying. they haven't got any medical experience and so of course they miss the point more than they meet the callers need.

    They(HCA) have to ask a whole pile of seemingly irrelevant questions( otherwise Management has their guts for garters). The computer then tosses the answers to the assessment in the air and where ever the ball stops, that is the answer and the disposition. What a risk!

    Get real, what sort of healthcare is that?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 21-May-2013 5:30 pm


    those above are two different styles of tick and a thumbs up for your comment but unfortunately NT don't do tick boxes for good comments (possibly allergy to tick boxes) and have translated them into something else instead! Sorry!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 21-May-2013 5:30 pm

    even stranger, they were translated into three little squares in the yellow comments page and now I have submitted my comment have been transposed into question marks !!!

    Oh well, I hope you got the message.


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.