back to article NHS Online consult service to live on: Calls go to 111

The Department of Health has said there are no immediate plans to drop the NHS Direct web service, despite signalling the end of telephone consultations. It has issued a statement saying that the site, which provides a first stop for medical advice, will remain in operation while the government reviews the wider use of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anything else

    If the 111 is for anything else, then it won't be primarily health related so it won't need a nurse on every phone call. Doesn't mean it will be cheaper. It's government run, so of course it will cost loads more than planned. Poltiicans and civil servants don't do planning or budgetting.

  2. Sam Liddicott

    It clearly is about cost-cutting

    It clearly is about cost-cutting, otherwise they could just change the number to 111 and let it go at that

  3. Dante Alighieri

    no chance of misdialling

    111 is awfully close to 112

    333 would have been a better choice...

    its not too late yet, wait, it's government so it's waaaaay too late.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Homer sez


    Beer, for when Marge is up the Duff.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hmmm, ... hidden good?

    I must admit to have used NHS direct a good number of times maybe even twice or more a week for a number of weeks (looking after a relative with multiple health needs).

    And the thing is (or is it things are?):

    Not every call needs a doctor - for some nursing intervention or nursing advice is sufficient.

    Maybe it (that is NHS Direct phone line) is one of those things with hidden cost savings?

    It will be interesting to see if removal/reduction of NHS Direct phone line leads to more emergency GP callouts. But time will tell and I think the staffing arrangements probably run on a mish-mash of out of hours GP surgery cover personal on a model of larger catchment area with non-office based GP (probably car based for duration of oncall shift?) merged with NHS Direct direct staff.

    Interesting to see what happens though (the Coalition seem to have a theme of: we will enable and assist you to inflence/help yourself. Big Brother is not watching quite as strongly now)?

  6. Richard Porter

    111 is completely daft

    Not because it's next to 112 but because it's so easy to dial accidentally. It could be dialled by a child playing with the phone using loop disconnect signalling. Why do you think 111 wasn't chosen as the international emergency number.

    1. Mayhem

      Actually in NZ it is 111

      For the exact same reason that other countries used 999, but our phone dials went the other way around, so a 1 was 9 clicks.

    2. Steve X

      not just children

      When the UK 999 service was introduced, many of the country's phones were still connected via bare overhead wires. In areas with many wires, they would blow together in the wind, dialling strings of 1 1 1 1... Uisng 111 as an emergency number would indeed have been daft. Perhaps less so today with most phones being pushbutton DTMF.

  7. David Pottage

    You don't need nurses to deal with time wasters

    Firstly, I have a todler in the house, and a baby who will be one soon. The todler has allready caused me to call NHS direct several times in his life sofar, so I am gratefull for the service, and I would not want it to become less effective.

    However, I suspect that NHS direct get called by a lot of time wasters, so it is probably a waste of manpower to have every call answerd by a Nurse, just so long as there are enough of them to give advice when they are needed.

    I also wonder if there was a bit of Union back scratching when the service was setup. Nurses are all Union members, in the UK, and anything that increases employment by union members would be a good thing in the eyes of a labour politicion.

    What about employing indian nurses in Mumbi? Best of both worlds?

  8. Mark Jan

    NHS Direct - the service for the Ill-Educated!

    New Labour has spawned a generation of the ill-educated, who believe they are merely the ill educated.

    NHS Direct merely panders to the whims (or perhaps demands) of the ill-educated.

    The ill educated know where, and perhaps more importantly when to get real medical help.

    1. Jimbo 6

      WTF ?

      Dude, that makes no freakin' sense whatsoever.

      Of all the things that right-wing morons blame New Labour for, the fact that most of the population are not qualified medical professionals - and so have to refer their medical enquiries to someone who is - is (possibly) the most ridiculous yet.

      Perhaps you meant to go to Speak You're Branes instead.

      1. Mark Jan

        The Ill-Educated instead of the Ill Educated

        @ Jimbo6

        I didn't say that most of the population need to be medically qualified professionals, nor do I blame Labour for such a situation. To extrapolate such a spurious conclusion based on what I had actually posted is part of the problem I was trying to highlight. The ill-educated having "branes" as opposed to the ill educated with brains. A hyphen makes all the difference to the ill educated but is clearly lost in today's text speak.

        To reiterate in simpler terms, what I do blame New Labour for is for spawning an extremely well qualified generation who cannot spell, reason or understand. A generation who have demands and rights but take little personal responsibility - the state will provide. Hence the ill-educated generation who will phone on a whim NHS Direct for a sniffle, ache or pain.

        Sadly, this generation is itself having children. Since this generation clearly doesn't know what function a hyphen performs, a small thing like a hymen needs to be got rid of as soon as possible as well. Hence children having children!

        Study after study shows that NHS Direct doesn't provide the best value service, which is the real reason it's being scrapped. It's being scrapped because you can do a better job.

        Sorting NHS Direct out is easy, the rest of the Labour legacy will take a lot more time.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I Condem the ConDems!

    According to various sources, NHS Direct receives around 14K calls per day, or about 5 million per year equating to £24 cost per call. Given the number of callers who are either given self help advice or told to see their doctor rather than going to casualty/ED/A&E (or whatever it's called today!) this is not a bad price to pay, plus I know of cases where people have been advised to see a doctor sooner than they would otherwise have done resulting in early cancer detection/treatment thus saving the NHS literaly millions in treatment costs. It's quite clear that the ConDems are dismantling as many NuLab institutions that they didn't like when opposition - especially the ones that may actually be achieving anything, e.g. ASBOs, boosting economy, state loans for industry, etc. I'm no NuLab fanboi, but they did manage to achieve some good (as well as some disasterous) things - why can't the ConDems leave alone the things that work and concentrate on those that don't.

    1. NX1977

      ConDem'd +1

      Are they simply hell bent on sending us back to the 80's?

      So far none of their cuts will actually in fact paying redundancy to all the cut workers woo cost more over the next 3 years than keeping them employed. Typical financial scam to remove employment costs and simply itemise them as 'one off' costs.

      So all they're doing is going to piss off the public by cutting key services. How about cutting the benefits scammers and chavs that just want to sit at home all day drinking and breeding at our expense?

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