DHU 111 (East Midlands) CIC was the only provider of NHS 111 services in the country to consistently achieve the national standard of over 95% of calls answered in 60 seconds during Christmas and New Year. DHU 111 answered 145,503 calls during the four weeks from 16th December to 12th January.
DHU 111 hit an average of 98% for calls answered within less than a minute and only saw 0.5% of calls abandoned after 30 seconds. They were also the second lowest referrer of cases to Emergency Departments in the country.
The Derbyshire and Leicestershire based organisation employs over 600 staff in its NHS 111 service and is a not-for-profit social enterprise. They were the first NHS 111 provider in the country to receive a CQC (Care Quality Commission) rating of ‘Outstanding’ in 2019.
Their performance success over the winter is the result of a number of steps taken by DHU 111 to ensure that they were well prepared:
- mass recruitment over the summer to increase the workforce
- high levels of flu vaccination take up by staff to minimise sickness
- sophisticated call forecasting which was adjusted further in response to increased call volumes in November and December
- staffing changes made according to adjusted forecasts
- using NHS England winter funding to give enhanced payment to staff to incentivise additional shift uptake
- additional attendance bonus for staff who were not absent over the period
- morale boosting activities to keep staff happy and motivated during the busy period.
Pauline Hand, Managing Director of DHU Health Care’s 111 service, commented, “The Christmas and New Year periods are always a challenging time for health services, so we’re delighted that the measures we put in place paid off, resulting in a top quality service for our local populations throughout the festive season.”