On 10th September, I took the opportunity in Parliament to welcome the Government’s announcement that £4.5 million has been allocated to the Derby Hospitals Trust, which will help the trust prepare for additional demand on services that might occur this winter. I also sought assurances on the 111 service’s effectiveness as the cold weather draws in.
For the hard-working NHS staff that serve my constituents this extra money will be a welcome boost this winter, when A&E departments come under most pressure.
It’s great news that the 111 service has now improved and now has a 92% satisfaction rate. This means that constituents will be able to get access to help over the telephone at home.
Once again we are seeing a positive outcome for hard-working people in Amber Valley from our decision to increase NHS spending – something that the Labour Party oppose.
Here’s what I asked in Parliament, along with with the Health Secretary’s response:
Nigel Mills MP: I welcome the extra £4.5 million for the Derby hospitals trust. On a separate matter, can the Secretary of State reassure my constituents that if they ring 111 they will now get a quality service that gives them the advice they need?
Jeremy Hunt MP (Secretary of State for Health; South West Surrey, Conservative): I thank my hon. Friend for mentioning the support that we are giving to Derby, which I hope will be a great help over this winter and next winter. Improving 111 is an important part of the long-term solution for A and E. If there is one thing that could persuade people not to go to their local A and E, it is to pick up the phone and get a good service. We have 92% satisfaction rates with 111 now, after the teething problems earlier in the year, but I think it can be even better. One of the things that would make the biggest difference is if we did something that has never happened before, which is to make it possible for doctors at the end of the 111 lines to access people’s medical records, with their consent. Then people would be talking to someone who knew about them, their allergies and their medical history. That is a big change. It never happened under the previous Government. Their attempts—[Interruption.] NHS Direct had no access to people’s medical records, which is what we are talking about. That would be a profound change and could make a big difference.