Record numbers call NHS 111 over festive period

From BBC - January 4, 2018

Record numbers of people called NHS 111 over the festive period and there was a sharp rise in ambulances being delayed outside accident and emergency units.

The data, from NHS England, covers the week ending 31 December.

More than 480,000 people called NHS 111 - a 21% rise on the previous week.

Ambulance crews faced delays of over 30 minutes handing over patients to A&E staff nearly 17,000 times during the week - a rise of over 40% on the previous week.

The figures suggest the NHS was incredibly busy during the festive period, explaining why there have been so many problems this week.

At least 20 hospital trusts have had to declare major incidents this week - about one in eight of the total.

The pressures prompted NHS England to order the cancellation of tens of thousands of non-urgent operations until the end of January in an attempt to ease the pressure on hospitals.

Hunt apology

The move prompted Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to apologise to patients.

Non-urgent treatments had already been cancelled until mid-January, but NHS England said on Tuesday that would now be extended to the end of the month.

It came after hospitals reported they were struggling to cope with the surge in patients being seen since Christmas.


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