One,One, One (111), this is the new code by which anything non-emergency,(you read non-urgent into that) might be channelled, should this alternative number idea, obtain the green light. As there is a suggestion that triple one number calls will be paid for, I would think the idea may be positively considered by the decision makers.
True, there have been some really silly 999 emergency calls exposed to the public ear; these would be time wasters by anyone’s standards. It’s always the extremely bizarre calls that are repeatedly broadcast. There will, however, be some calls that appear to sound frivolous to inexperienced ears that really are calls of genuine need. Heaven only knows how you sort out those, apart from good life experience, judgement, intuition or all three.
The triple one call number is meant to offload non-urgent callers from the busy emergency lines. Research is required to find out what the true percentage of non-emergency calls are. It must include an acceptable definition of what is an emergency for there to be true validity to this discussion. Up to now, I have not heard one.
Should a 111 call transpire to be sort of urgent, then it may be channelled into a free helpline. This suggests that confusion as to what is a serious help number and what is less serious, is being factored in, though this is bound to be denied.
In Scotland it has been said that a call that seems to require real assistance could even be transferred to NHS24. Why on earth should it be assumed that a call which is sort of urgent be a health call! If it is, then either a health call should be made to NHS24, or a 999 call. Following my experiences with NHS24, I would dial 999 first, without any hesitation.
Three years ago I dialled 999 – we had an emergency. I explained which service I needed, and when put through, I was told to call my local emergency services. That’s what I thought I had done. Where did my emergency call go? 300 miles away from where I made the call!! I think this experience was beyond the pale. It is a cavalier manner, in my view, with which to provide for real emergency need.
There is a lot of posturing going on with all the public services. We need to be wary and ask more questions about the wider agendas.