Hunt to push NHS 111 helpline reforms after William Mead death

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt met privately with the parents of William Mead, whose death has called into question whether the NHS 111 helpline can identify serious illnesses in children, and told them he plans to push through reforms to the service.

Melissa and Paul Mead met with Mr Hunt on Thursday who told them that he will look to improve the 111 helpline to allow call handlers to access patient's medical records.

Speaking to ITV News Correspondent, Richard Pallot after the meeting, Mrs Mead, 29, said it was "absolutely vital" helpline staff, with permission, could access medical records of callers.

In parliament on Tuesday, Hunt admitted various health professionals had failed to recognise the signs of sepsis in William.

"Quite simply, we let [Mrs Mead], her family and William down in the worst possible way," he said.

During the meeting, the couple and Hunt also discussed implementing a public awareness campaign to minimise the 12,500 annual avoidable deaths caused by sepsis.

We want to know that William's death has not been in vain and we want to have answers and concrete plans in place so that we're able to walk away satisfied that this report has had the impact that it has and it can drive forward.

Melissa Mead

12-month-old William died from sepsis as a result of a chest infection which could have been avoided if the right advice had been given by doctors and 111, Mrs Mead told ITV News.

An NHS England report found that 16 mistakes contributed to the death of William in December 2014.