Since July 2018 all out of hours calls have been directed to NHS 111. This service is provided by West Midlands Ambulance Service.
In early March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic the number of calls to NHS 111 grew which led to some delays in calls from patients being answered. For patients at the end of their lives with distressing symptoms, any delay is unacceptable.
ShropDoc were aware of the difficulties being experienced by these patients, their families/carers and the professionals who care for them because 15% of home visits out-of-hours are for palliative care. To offer additional support at this time ShropDoc introduced a dedicated Palliative Care Helpline. The aim of this survey was to understand the experience of patients on a palliative care pathway, and those supporting them, in getting help when they needed it from NHS 111 and ShropDoc during the pandemic.
The survey ran from July to November 2020 and follows on from engagement work focused on End of Life services in Shropshire in 2019. Experiences of End of Life and Palliative Care Services in Shropshire.