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Monday 26th August 2019

Concerns over NHS 111

24th May 2012

Family doctors say the government is ignoring the lessons learned during evaluations of the NHS 111 non-urgent number.

GP representatives raised concerns at the National Local Medical Committee conference in Liverpool where delegates were told that it could lead to increased attendance at A&E and surgeries.

Further fears were raised about a risk to patient safety, increased primary and secondary care costs, and threats to existing GP-led out-of-hours services.

The 111 NHS helpline scheme, which has been evaluated by a team from Sheffield University, has been piloted by the Department of Health in three areas with plans to roll it out nationally by next April.

Tenders for the service have been won by a number of different companies, using a number of different service models and IT support.

Dr Peter Holden, a negotiator for the BMA’s General Practitioner Committee, under its current structure NHS 111 was a waste of resources and would have a detrimental effect on GP out-of-hours services.

Dr Stewart Kay, chairman of Southwark LMC and a GPC member, told the LMC conference that he had originally been a supporter of the aims of NHS 111 and still believed it was a good idea but was worried that local areas were not being allowed to decide how it was delivered.

“Clinical services will be sub-contracted and that will have an inevitable effect on quality of care,” he added.

Dr John Grenville, Derbyshire LMC secretary where one of the NHS 111 pilots is running, said: “NHS 111 is worth a try so long as we do it properly.”


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