Monday, 6 May 2013

Hangin on the telephone line.

Before I post I usually wait to find that single fact that explains an issue. There have been a number of stories about the new ‘111’ service for ‘non emergency’ medical problems, which started this month.

Once upon a time we had ‘NHS Direct’ a great service, you rang in and got to speak to a Nurse. They advised you whether you needed to go to hospital or not , often that’s all you needed…

Now it’s gone, replaced by ‘111’ which is an alternative to the ‘999’ emergency service. It isn’t working, as this story from ‘Nottingham Today’ reveals;


THE health body which runs the NHS’s non-emergency helpline 111 in Notts is investigating two deaths, it has been revealed.

According to the general practitioners trade magazine Pulse, an 83-year-old in the East Midlands died after a friend called 111 to say that the person had collapsed with severe abdominal pain.

When paramedics arrived the patient was dead, and the report says the call centre may have delayed calling an ambulance.

A second death, involving a suspected overdose, is also being investigated. The patient’s family called 111 and requested mental health assistance but the patient was found dead at home.

And a third death is also being looked into in the West Midlands area after the patient dialed 111 and was told to go to the nearest GP clinic.

A total of 22 serious incidents are being investigated, in relation the non-emergency helpline, which was rolled out nationally last month.

A spokesman from Derbyshire Health United - which covers NHS 111 in Derbyshire, Notts and Northamptonshire - said it was investigating the two deaths in the East Midlands but that it believed the system and processes that were followed would have been "exactly as expected".



There are plenty of similar reports – it’s a story that will run and run.

NHS England spokespersons have given all kinds of reasons for the change – like ‘making it clearer’, ‘an alternative to 999’ or best of all ‘clear branding’.

What’s happened is a national NHS run service has been replaced by 46 private profitable providers (even if some claim to be non-profits, they are still making money out of this).

That one fact?

With NHS Direct there was one Nurse for every two ‘call takers’.

With 111 there is only one Nurse for every 15 ‘call takers’.

Which service would you trust?


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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