Ministers must act on 111 failure

Lives are being put at risk if the company contracted to manage emergency 111 calls can’t cope with increased numbers, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says.

“Saturday’s situation where people calling the emergency services were unable to get through and were instead cut off shows there’s something wrong with the system.

“Imagine if there was a serious incident affecting a lot of people such as an earthquake, terrorism event or other disaster resulting in hundreds of calls to emergency services at once.

“The ICT and Emergency Service Ministers should demand an explanation from Spark as to whether they are delivering on their service obligations.

“If the fault lies with the contracted arrangements then it’s the government who should explain what went wrong and what they will do about it.

“Emergency calls are not easy calls. The operator needs to stay with the person until they are dealt with.

“We cannot compromise on our emergency services to keep costs down. If there isn’t enough capacity to manage the service under stress, we deserve to know.

“The 111 calls cannot be another example of essential public services being compromised,” says Clare Curran.