Concerns over North Wales 111 NHS service
Plaid Cymru’s North Wales MS has raised concerns about the 111 telephone service after being contacted by health professionals.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru's North Wales MS, told the Senedd that the 111 service for non-urgent medical advice was launched in June of this year across the region.
He said: "There are concerns being expressed to me that the service is unable to cope with the volume of demand. This is no doubt in part to the pressures GPs are facing and many patients’ inability to get access to a GP.
"The sense among nursing professionals is that the service is being over-run – with patients having to wait hours for a basic response despite the best efforts of staff. In the past few weeks, calls have gone unanswered and one had waited 600 minutes to be triaged. Some of these cases need to be sent to the Emergency Department as a matter of urgency but, due to the backlog, they are being lost and delayed. It’s impossible to know how many give up waiting due to the lengthy delays."
Mr Gruffydd also raised concerns about specialisms within the 111 service: "There are no paediatric specialists on the 111 service in the North and therefore all cases involving children, when they finally get through, are being referred straight to the Emergency Department. Similarly, the 111 mental health hub does not have sufficient psychiatric specialism to deal with current demand. It's little wonder our Emergency services are being inundated.
"Given the very real rise in demand for mental health services during the pandemic, patients and the general public across north Wales need reassurance that this service is delivering what's needed."
In questions to the First Minister this afternoon he concluded: "Will the First Minister accept that the 111 service, which replaced the GP out-of-hours service, is not delivering? This is the view of very concerned health professionals with years of experience in the field.