• NHS Digital instructed to collect coronavirus data from all NHS 111 providers
  • Information will be used to help “ensure continued safe patient services”
  • Comes as possible coronavirus patients are advised to self-isolate and call 111

The NHS nationally is collecting data from 111 calls related to coronavirus to inform the national response, it has confirmed. 

The number of callers with coronavirus symptoms who have visited a “risk” area or been in contact with someone who has the illness in the past two weeks is among the information NHS Digital is collecting from the different organisations which provide the 111 service around England.

NHS Digital began this work at the end of last month and is passing the information to NHS England, it said, after being asked to by NHSE.

Data on the outcome of these 111 calls — such as whether the caller was sent an ambulance or advised to attend an emergency department — is also being collected.

NHS Digital February board papers stated: “The integrated urgent care policy team and NHS England national emergency preparedness, resilience and response unit need oversight of 111 coronavirus activity levels.

“This collection will help the NHS to understand the current state of the system and understand where future support and interventions may be required to ensure continued safe patient services.”

NHS Digital confirmed the information would only be shared with NHSE.

NHS 111 is a major part of the current NHS response to coronavirus, as proposed by NHSE, the Department of Health and Social Care, and Public Health England. A letter to the service yesterday said suspected cases should “self-isolate at home immediately and call NHS 111”.

There have been 13 confirmed UK coronavirus cases as of yesterday. The government said the risk to individuals remains “low”, but there is substantial concern about readiness for further spread. So far, 6,795 tests had been carried out.