Skip to main content

Launch of NHS 111 must be delayed as crisis worsens, warns BMA


GP leaders today (Thursday, 28 March 2013) called for Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS Commissioning Board, to delay the launch of NHS 111 as the crisis affecting the system threatens to put patient safety at risk1.

NHS 111, a telephone triage service designed to direct people with non life threatening conditions to the right part of the NHS within the appropriate timeframe, has been trialled in England ahead of a nationwide launch on Monday, 1 April2. At the same time, Clinical Commissioning Groups are scheduled to assume responsibility for commissioning services in the NHS and oversee the NHS 111 system in their region3.

Dr Laurence Buckman, Chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, said:

“The BMA has written to Sir David Nicholson and asked him to delay the launch of NHS 111 until the system is fully safe for the public. We cannot sacrifice patient safety in order to meet a political deadline for the launch of a service that doesn’t work properly.

“There have been widespread reports of patients being unable to get through to an operator or waiting hours before getting a call back with the health information they have requested.

“In some areas, such as Greater Manchester, NHS 111 effectively crashed because it was unable to cope with the number of calls it was receiving.

“The chaotic mess now afflicting NHS 111 is not only placing strain on other already over stretched parts of the NHS, such as the ambulance service, but is potentially placing patients at risk. If someone calls NHS 111 they need immediate, sound advice and not be faced with any form of delay.

“The BMA is particularly concerned that CCGs will find it difficult to cope with the worsening crisis now gripping NHS 111 when they take responsibility for the service next week.

“CCGs will be taking over a service they did not commission or ask to be set up, at a pressurised time when they are also assuming responsibility for a raft of other services and budgets within the NHS. The government has also made it clear that CCGs will have to foot the bill for any financial costs, such as hiring staff to cover for NHS 111 failures.

“The BMA has been warning the government about the problems with NHS 111 for almost two years. They must act soon to ensure that patient safety is protected.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The lion and the wildebeest

Birds flock, fish school, bees swarm, but social being is more than simply sticking together.  Social groups enable specialisation and a sharing of abilities, and enhances ability, learning and creating new tricks. The more a group works together, the more effective they become as a team.  Chimpanzees learn from each other how to use stones to crack nuts, or sticks to get termites.  All around us we see cooperation and learning in nature.  Nature is inherently creative.  Pulling together becomes a rallying cry during a crisis.  We have heard it throughout the coronavirus pandemic.  "We are all in this together", a mantra that encourages people to adopt a common strategy. In an era of 'self-interest' and 'survival of the fittest,'  and 'selfish gene', we lose sight of the obvious conclusion from the evidence all around us.   Sticking together is more often the better approach.  This is valid for the lion as it is also for the wildebeest.   We don't

Noise pollution puts nature at risk

 "I just want a bit of peace and quiet!" Let's get away from all the hustle and bustle; the sound of endless traffic on the roads, of the trains on the railway, and the planes in the sky; the incessant drone; the noise. We live in a world of man-made noise; screeching, bellowing, on-and-on in an unmelodious cacophony.  This constant background noise has now become a significant health hazard.   With average background levels of 60 decibels, those who live in cities are often exposed to noise over 85 decibels, enough to cause significant hearing loss over time.  It causes stress, high blood pressure, headache and loss of sleep and poor health and well-being.   In nature, noise has content and significance.  From the roar of the lion, the laughing of a hyena,  communication is essential for life; as the warning of danger, for bonding as a group or a pair, finding a mate, or for establishing a position in a hierarchy - chattering works.  Staying in touch is vital to working

Therapeutic animal stress

Interacting with animals is known to be therapeutic,  particularly in reducing stress.  But do we consider sufficiently the effects this may have on the animals involved?   We might assume that because it is calming for us, then it must be so for the therapeutic animals, but is this so?  New research suggests that it isn't always without stress for the animals involved.  Positive human-animal interaction relates to changes in physiological variables both in humans and other animals, including a reduction of subjective psychological stress (fear, anxiety) and an increase of oxytocin levels in the brain.  It also reduces the 'stress' hormone, cortisol. Indeed, these biological responses have measurable clinical benefits.  Oxytocin has long been implicated in maternal bonding, sexual behaviour and social affiliation behaviours and in promoting a sense of well-being .  So far, so good.  We humans often turn to animals for stress relief, companionship, and even therapy.  We kno