NHS Undercover: Channel 4’s Dispatches programme claims that the NHS 111 service, including services provided by Harmoni from centres in Bristol and Dorking, leave patients waiting for calls and is understaffed.
But the programme doesn’t show a representative picture of how the NHS 111 service actually works or how it is performing, how quickly it responds to patients with a diverse range of needs or how it affects other urgent health care services.
Remember that the NHS 111 service is not an emergency service and doesn’t replace the 999 service.
Harmoni has given Channel 4 and Dispatches a detailed response to the concerns the programme broadcast, many of which were based on third hand comments and anecdotes, gathered over only a handful of days, without checking how the service was actually performing."
The Channel 4 documentary revealed significant shortfalls in performance of the NHS 111 service for the Wiltshire area following the launch of the service earlier this year.
The programme showed evidence of poor staffing levels, poor training, and non-medical staff making judgement calls in the absence of clinical advisors.
The poor standards of service which have been delivered to patients needing non-emergency care across the Wiltshire region are wholly unacceptable.
NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have assured me that work is ongoing with Harmoni to address the areas which remain below standard. I have asked them for the specific actions they are implementing to resolve the problems and the expected dates for improvement.
Given the new commissioning arrangements that put GPs and patients at the heart of service decisions, we have an opportunity to sort out this service and make it robust for the future."
A call centre in Bristol, designed to handle non emergency NHS calls is failing patients, according to an undercover investigation.
Channel 4's Dispatches programme claim the 111 service, run by private healthcare company Harmoni, is sending out ambulances for the wrong reasons and not providing sufficient equipment or training for staff.
On Monday, NHS Direct pulled out of its main contracts of the 111 service, including one in Somerset.
Harmoni said their services are reviewed weekly to ensure safety.
The Conservative MP for Bristol North West Charlotte Leslie is a member of the Commons' Health Select Committee: