Paramedics' perceptions and experiences of NHS 111 in the south west of England
Joel S Phillips
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
NHS 111 is a non-emergency telephone triage service in England, where people with non-urgent health problems or questions can gain access to information and services. However, studies have demonstrated key problems with the burden it places on emergency and ambulance services.
To add to the evidence base, this study explores the perceptions and experiences of paramedics who attend patients referred to the ambulance service by NHS 111.
A qualitative research design was adopted and seven frontline paramedics who work in the south west of England were interviewed. Data were collected using semi-structured interview questions and thematically analysed.
Key overarching themes identified included: non-clinical call handlers making clinical decisions; caution and liability; an unwarranted, increased demand on the ambulance service; inaccurate call prioritisation; and interprofessional conflict.
Improvements need to be made to the NHS 111 service to ensure the triage software it uses is triaging and prioritising patients accurately and to minimise inappropriate referrals to the ambulance service, promoting the right care for patients the first time.
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