For patients contacting NHS 111, there is a wealth of clinical support available if required by their healthcare concern. If you are a clinician and looking for a new way to use your clinical skills, there are a wide range of opportunities to make a difference at local NHS 111 provider, HUC.

Whether you are a nurse, paramedic, pharmacist or GP, there is a role for you at HUC. When a patient first calls NHS 111, a fully trained call handler, a ‘Health Advisor’ in NHS 111 terminology, takes them through a set of questions generated by an algorithm software called NHS Pathways. If clinical advice is required at this stage, our Health Advisors are supported by a team of Clinical Advisors – paramedics or nurses – in our contact centres. They work together as a team to ensure our patients receive the right care for their condition. Clinical Advisors can also help to quickly assess the need to dispatch an ambulance if necessary or advise the patient on the most appropriate care setting. This may include the emergency department, depending on the severity of the issue

Should further and potentially more senior or specialised clinical intervention be necessary, the Clinical Advisory Service – or CAS for short – is available as part of the wider contact centre team. The CAS is made up of GPs, potentially pharmacists or urgent care practitioners, dental nurses or mental health professionals. Any category 3 or 4 ambulance dispatches are reassessed by the GP to ensure that this is right course of action and that the patient would not benefit from being seen elsewhere. The same can be said for emergency department dispositions. Both these measures mean that NHS 111 plays a significant role in taking some of the pressure off busy emergency departments and ambulance trusts by ensuring only those patients who really need it are seen by those services.

Roles for clinicians working outside of the contact centre

We also offer opportunities for clinicians who want to do face-to-face appointments in our GP Out of Hours service. Here, clinicians will see patients who need to be seen face to face after a telephone consultation. Our many treatment centres are co-located in hospitals or in other NHS owned buildings across the counties that we work in — strategically placed locations to allow maximum patients coverage with the least amount of travel time, so that they can receive the care they require. We also offer clinicians a visiting role, where they work in a car and visit patients who are potentially housebound, vulnerable or unable to visit a centre.

Training for our clinical colleagues

We take pride in being a great place to work and career development opportunities are available for many roles.

Making sure we provide high quality care is at the heart of what we do. A big part of that is ensuring that our colleagues receive the training and support to perform their roles. Apart from an induction, our team colleagues spend time with trainees on buddying shifts, perhaps shadowing one of our senior existing clinicians and listening in to them taking calls. They are initially audited by senior clinicians in order to facilitate ongoing learning and improvement.

We also offer monthly training sessions and fulfil any individual training needs required. This could even be arranged on a one-to-one basis. “If any of our existing members of the CAS team or our Clinical Advisors highlight or raise a concern or they feel need some support or training in a certain area, then we would endeavour to provide that — whether that’s carried out by one of our existing senior members of staff who may have that experience already or whether we have to look for an external course that may benefit the entire clinical workforce,” highlights Joel Buckthorp, our Regional CAS Manager.

We also provide non-mandatory training sessions on a regular basis. These are available to all clinicians and cover a range of subjects; including telephone assessment, specific conditions or body systems. These help keep our clinicians up to date as well as count as evidence of your continuous professional development.

Shift flexibility for clinicians

Last but not the least, we offer flexible working to our clinicians at HUC. There is an excellent full-time rotas system in place, and if somebody’s situation requires slightly more flexible working, we look at ways how that can be worked out. There has been a great amount of learning throughout the pandemic and we are able to offer flexible working accordingly. Homeworking is possible as all of our systems are accessible from home with minimal setup whilst maintaining security. We can cater our working patterns to the individual where it is appropriate to do so, to meet their needs and ours – which promotes a healthy work culture and work-life balance.