Is NHS 111 First making a difference?

During COVID-19, people have relied on NHS 111 more than ever to get urgent medical advice. Our latest research looks at people’s experiences of NHS 111 and awareness of the new A&E time slot booking service.

From 1 December 2020, the NHS introduced a new system called NHS 111 First. 

This means that NHS 111 can now book you an appointment at your local A&E or get you an urgent appointment at an alternative health service. The NHS 111 First campaign encourages people to call NHS 111 before going to emergency departments. 

More information about NHS 111 First 

To better understand public attitudes towards NHS 111, including awareness of the new services offered by NHS 111 First, and support the best possible roll-out of this new service, we commissioned YouGov to run a representative poll of 2076 people on 27 Jan 2021. 

Through the Healthwatch network, we also gathered views from over 400 people who had used NHS 111 in the last six months.

What’s working

The public has a good awareness of NHS 111 and are likely to use it

Most people know they can call NHS 111 for help and information.

The majority (84%) of polling respondents said that they were aware that they could call NHS 111 for urgent medical advice. Almost three-quarters (70%) agreed that they were more likely to call NHS 111 than go straight to an emergency department when they had an urgent medical problem.

Half of the respondents polled had previously called NHS 111. The most common reasons for the call were because people wanted advice or reassurance, didn’t think it was a 999 emergency, or did not know whether they needed to go to A&E or another NHS service.

Getting the right help

Three out of four people who had used the service (79%) felt they had got the help they needed.

Usually, this meant that they had their question answered directly, received a call back from a medical professional or were told to go straight to A&E.

People were most likely to say that they had a very good service experience if their question was answered directly by the call handler.

Outside of those who had their question answered directly, the group most likely to rate their experience as “very good” were those who received a booked time slot at emergency departments or a same-day GP appointment.


SEE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS HERE Healthwatch & The Royal College of Emergency Medicine – Oct 20

Healthwatch England – March 21