New NHS 111 phone line under fire again after paramedics are sent to deal with an ingrown toenail and a CAT with diarrhoea
System is 'endangering lives' as responders can't get to real emergenciesAmbulance staff say their workload has almost doubled since 111 beganBlame inexperienced operators unable to filter calls from the publicHospitals have also seen huge influx of patients since the scheme began


'As with any new service that is introduced there is period of bedding in that is required which is why a phased approach has been taken to introducing NHS 111.

'Our 111 staff receive an intensive four-week training programme and a number of formal assessments and on-going call audits maintains quality.

'SECAmb assesses all calls in the same way using NHS Pathways – a recognised tool with Royal College approval – when they are transferred from the NHS 111 service to ensure the system is robust.

'We are continuing to work hard to ensure patients using 111 receive the service they deserve.'

MaiOnline has contacted Harmoni for comment.


Four hospitals in Kent, including the William Harvey, have seen 'unprecedented' numbers of patients since the 111 system was rolled out

Four hospitals in Kent, including the William Harvey, have seen 'unprecedented' numbers of patients since the 111 system was rolled out

NHS bosses have declared an emergency at four hospitals after the number of sick people taking up beds soared to 'unprecedented levels' after the rollout of the new NHS telephone advice hotline.

Chiefs at the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust issued a statement this week saying that numbers had got so high – doubling in recent weeks – that it had been forced to declare an 'Internal Major Incident'.

Doctors have been told to 'review' all patients and to 'discharge those that are safe to be discharged', it was revealed today.

Four of the Trust's five hospitals are affected, including the 476-bed William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, the 388-bed Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.

The 287-bed Kent and Canterbury Hospital in Canterbury, and the 50-bed Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone are also affected.

The fifth hospital run by the trust, the Buckland Hospital, is unaffected as it doesn't have any beds.

A review of the four hospitals affected is currently underway after worries over patient safety were raised.

The declaration of an 'Internal Major Incident' is rarely used – and is normally used after huge motorway accidents or 'major events'.

The internal statement sent to staff at the hospitals said 'all consultants and their teams….needed to review all patients'.

Peter Johnson, emergency planning boss at the Trust, said in the statement: “A decision has been made to call an Internal Major Incident, as it has been considered that patient safety is being put at risk due to the amount of patients within our hospital.'

He said the Trust was working with other Kent NHS Trust to 'ensure that they support our efforts in discharging patients'.