Six months after NHS England published its first ever Long Term Workforce Plan, new figures show that there are now 2,600 handlers taking 999 calls, up from 2,400 – an 8 per cent increase on last December.
The number of 111 call handlers is up 5 per cent for the same period. In the week ending 3 Dec the NHS 111 service answered almost twice the proportion of calls within a minute (from 36 per cent to 67 per cent) as the same week last year.
The NHS also recruited more than 1,700 additional paramedics and ambulance support staff between December 2022 and August 2023.
It is hugely welcome news that we have been able to recruit hundreds more emergency staff ahead of this winter, with over 1,700 more ambulance staff and significant increases in the number of 111 and 999 call handlers to help deal with record demand for services as we head into the busier winter months.”Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director.
The NHS reported that it is already experiencing significant pressure with figures for the week ending 3 Dec showing an extra 1,200 patients in hospital compared to the same week last year. Winter plans have seen the nationwide rollout of care ‘traffic control’ centres, extra ambulances and beds and the rapid expansion use of the ‘world-leading and innovative virtual ward programme, keeping patients out of hospitals and treating more people at home and in the community where appropriate.’