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PP28 An analysis of NHS 111 demand for primary care services: A retrospective cohort study
  1. Richard Pilbery1,
  2. Madeleine Smith2,
  3. Jonathan Green3,
  4. Dan Chalk4,
  5. Colin O’Keeffe5
  1. 1Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, UK
  2. 2NHS Devon, UK
  3. 3University of Plymouth, UK
  4. 4University of Exeter, UK
  5. 5University of Sheffield, UK


Background The NHS 111 service triages over 16,650,745 calls per year and approximately 48% of callers are triaged to a primary care disposition, such as a telephone appointment with a general practitioner (GP). However, there has been little assessment of the ability of primary care services to meet this demand. If a timely service cannot be provided to patients, it could result in patients calling 999 or attending emergency departments (ED) instead.

This study aimed to explore the patient journey for callers who were triaged to a primary care disposition, and the ability of primary care services to meet this demand.

Methods We obtained routine, retrospective data from the Connected Yorkshire research database, and identified all 111 calls between the 1st January 2021 and 31st December 2021 for callers registered with Bradford or Airedale GP, who were triaged to a primary care disposition. Subsequent healthcare system access (111, 999, primary and secondary care) in the 72 hours following the index 111 call was identified, and a descriptive analysis of the healthcare trajectory of patients was undertaken.

Results There were 56,102 index 111 calls, and a primary care service was the first interaction in 26,690/56,102 (47.6%) of cases, with 15,470/26,690 (58%) commenced within the specified triage time frame. Calls to 999 were higher in the cohort who had no prior contact with primary care (58% vs 42%) as were ED attendances (58.2% vs 41.8), although the proportion of avoidable ED attendances was similar (10.5% vs 11.8%).

Conclusion Less than half of 111 callers triaged to a primary care disposition contact a primary care service, and even when they do, call triage time frames are frequently not met, suggesting that current primary care provision cannot meet the demand from 111.

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