More than a million people seek online NHS advice amid coronavirus crisis

More than a million people have sought advice on coronavirus from a dedicated NHS online service in the first few days since its launch.

An update to 111 online was released less than two weeks ago on February 26 to help people get quick advice during the Covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England said that one day saw inquiries reach a record high of more than 210,000.

The service aims to free up time for clinical call handlers so they can prioritise people calling NHS 111 who are experiencing symptoms.

New figures show the 111 phone service received an extra 120,000 calls in the first week of March, up more than a third compared with the same time last year.

Between February 27 and March 5 this year, NHS 111 answered 389,779 calls.

Meanwhile, around 500 additional initial call responders have been trained – a 20% increase.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “NHS staff continue to work around the clock to ensure everyone gets the care, advice and support that they need to deal with coronavirus.

“With more than one million people using the new online service, 111 online is helping people to get specific information and advice at the touch of a button, helping to give people quick advice, increase capacity in the NHS and free up clinicians’ time.”

NHS England said investment in the 111 service was set to increase if demand continued to rise.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) NHS.

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