MORE than 21,000 calls – one every fifteen seconds – were made to the West Midlands’ non-emergency NHS 111 number over the Easter weekend.

With GP surgeries and other services closed for the bank holiday, the service run by West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) received 21,875 calls over the four-day period.

Brendan Young, patient representatives for the West Midlands Clinical Senate – a professional body providing advice and guidance to medial workers throughout the region – recently visited the NHS 111 headquarters in Brierley Hill and said he was impressed by what he saw.

“I had reservations based on the bad experiences that had been reported when the service first launched and was concerned that people would not be trained well enough to provide a safe service,” he said.

“I was, however, exceptionally impressed with how the health advisors assessed the patients’ needs and guided them to the best possible outcome.

“Importantly it was not just impressive to see the correct outcomes being reached, but also the elegant ways in which the patients were dealt with.”

WMAS took over the service in November last year after the collapse of NHS Direct

The service’s director Daren Fradgley said: “It is pleasing to know that the efforts we are all putting in to making the service the best it can possibly be are being recognised.

“The training of staff was quickly highlighted as an area we wanted to improve on after stepping in to take over the contract and the hard work being put in by everyone is now being rewarded.”