Minor 111 calls diverted to nurse

By Kelli Hooks

Wairarapa 111 calls for minor injuries, such as sprained ankles and cut fingers, are being diverted to Healthline in a trial aimed at freeing up ambulances for more urgent cases.

The trial is being run by Wellington Free Ambulance and since it began, in October 2012, 60 per cent of non-urgent callers in the trial have been transferred to Healthline.

Of the 1000 calls handled during the trial, 58 have been from Wairarapa.

Wellington Free Ambulance service development manager Paul Fake said the trial would investigate whether the new system could deliver the right level of care to non-urgent callers and reduce ambulance demand.

"Emergency services can be very stretched at times, and being able to transfer non-urgent calls to telephone triage leaves ambulance services free to deal with the real emergencies.

"We hope it will improve patient care across the region," Mr Fake said.

Callers who do not have an immediate or life-threatening emergency are transferred to Healthline for assessment by a registered nurse.

Non-urgent 111 calls have included minor injuries such as cut fingers, sprained ankles and illnesses, such as coughs and colds, he said.

"The new system for non-urgent calls means we are able to get ambulances to the people who really need them as quickly as possible."

Healthline have faced an increase in call volumes as a result of the trial, Mr Fake said.

The Ministry of Health will evaluate the trial, which is expected to be completed by April.


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