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NHS 111 failures led to early Covid deaths, investigation finds

Inquiry says phone service misjudged levels of illness and failed to advise some to seek urgent help

Multiple failures by the NHS 111 telephone advice service early in the pandemic left Covid patients struggling to get care and led directly to some people dying, an investigation has found.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) looked into the help that NHS 111 gave people with Covid in the weeks before and after the UK entered its first lockdown on 23 March 2020.

The CRS algorithm did not allow for the assessment of any life-threatening illness a caller had – such as obesity, cancer or lung disease – to establish whether they should undergo a clinical assessment.

When many callers reached the core 111 service, there was no way to divert them as intended to the CRS, which was operationally independent of 111.

Although patients who had Covid-19 symptoms as well as underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, were meant to be assessed when they spoke to the core 111 service, some were not.

The number of extra calls to 111 in March 2020 meant that only half were answered.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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