PATIENTS calling NHS 111 are being left on hold for 20 vezes mais do que deveriam.
O medical advice helpline aims to answer calls within 20 segundos.
But the average time is 395 seconds — six and a half minutes.
Patients report being on hold for an hour and others have waited overnight for a doctor to call.
Sarah Scobie, of the Nuffield Trust, disse: “As well as being distressing and worrying for people who are unwell, prolonged delays in NHS 111 services mean more calls being abandoned by patients.
“This could put patient safety at risk and may also put other urgent care services under more pressure, as people seek care from other services when they don’t get a timely response.”
The NHS said staff have dealt with “an extremely busy summer”, with nearly two million 111 calls in June.