04:25AM, Tuesday 30 July 2013
A doctor who is responsible for the controversial 111 health call service in Berkshire has spoken out to reassure people after recent bad publicity surrounding the system nationally.
The 111 service exists to advise people worried about a medical problem who do not want to go as far as dialling 999 or calling out their doctor.
Doctor Andy Ciecierski is project board chairman for NHS 111 across the county, as well as a Reading GP.
This week he pointed out that the service in Berkshire was provided by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust - which is also responsible for answering emergency 999 calls.
Dr Ciecierski said:“The service has a strong clinical presence in the form of nurse practitioners and paramedics supporting the health advisers who respond to calls.
"We planned the introduction to minimise any risks of a 'big bang' approach and the modelling being used to predict demand and staffing is proving to be very accurate and this is being reflected in a good level of service.”
He said the service was under continuous review. Across the whole of Berkshire more than 45,000 calls have been received since it went live.
This has led to a 25 per cent reduction in GP out of hours activity and below national average referrals to 999 of seven per cent. Over 96 per cent of calls are answered within 60 seconds.