NHS 111 service 'designed to be cautious'

On the day that ITV News uncovered claims that the NHS 111 helpline is pushing some A&E departments "to breaking point", the NHS has outlined new plans to help them cope with rising patient numbers.

Prof Keith Willett, the National Director for Acute Episodes of Care for NHS England, told ITV News the 111 service is "designed to be cautious".

Prof Willett said it offers an opportunity for patients to be able to get the help and advice they need "without going to A&E".

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Surge in abandoned 111 calls

The extent of the new NHS non-emergency advice line's problems have been highlighted by a rise in abandoned calls. The number of people who hung up after waiting for more than 30 seconds increased to 29,100 in March, according to NHS figures.