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NHS Direct

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 3 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average (a) cost and (b) duration of a call to NHS Direct was in the most recent period for which figures are available. (253721)

The average cost of a call to NHS Direct’s 0845 46 47 line was £25.53 for 2007-08. This does not include other calls to services provided to national and local commissioners, e.g. calls to the appointments line (formerly the choose and book appointments line) and locally commissioned services.

The average duration of a call to NHS Direct is 528 seconds (8 minutes 48 seconds) for the calendar year January-December 2008. This includes all calls to the 0845 46 47 line and other calls to services provided to national and local commissioners, including calls to the appointments line and locally commissioned services. The time quoted is the duration of time that a frontline staff member speaks to a patient for each call and this includes:

calls warm transferred directly from a health adviser to a nurse;

calls placed on a queue for a nurse or health information advisor (although time spent on the queue is not included);

calls answered and completed by a nurse; and

calls fully handled by a health adviser.