Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

  • 1 May 2020 to 31 March 2021
  • Project No: 497
  • Funding round: FR20

Aims of the research 

To learn how NHS111 are currently advising the public about what to do about coronavirus and inform how they can best deliver these services in the future.  

 Background to the research 

Calls to NHS111 are up by more than a third and the service is rapidly having to adapt to cope with demand. Effective communication between call-handlers and the public is vitalassessment and advice is by telephone, and call-handlers must manage gathering information alongside managing risks (e.g. ruling out life-threatening illness)Staff do not know patient’s medical histories, and callers may be very anxious. When communication is ineffective, the consequences can be very serious.  

Design and methods used 

Using qualitative methods we will analyse communication between call-handlers and the public in recordings of NHS111 callsWe will identify and describe more and less ‘successful’ methods of managing callers’ concerns, agreeing treatment plansand making sure they know when to seek further medical helpWe will ask some patients about their experiences, and what happened next, by telephone seven days later. 

Patient, public and provider involvement 

A diverse service user panel and our two NHS111 partners will be involved from start to finish.  


We will share our findings with NHS111 service providers via Health Education England. An information and resource pack will be made available online via the Oxford COVID-19 Evidence service. We will also write up our findings in a scientific paper for academic audiences and engage wider public audiences using Web and Social Media. 


Research team: Rebecca Barnes, Geraldine Leydon, Catherine Pope, Catherine Woods, Jennie Hayes, Lydia Holt, Charlotte Albury.

Amount awarded: £84,476.00

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.