Skip to main content

NHS111 an 'abject failure' says BMA

The news that NHS Direct is seeking to pull out of its 'financially unsustainable' NHS 111 contracts has received a strongly worded reaction from the doctors organisation the BMA and questions are now being asked about the tendering process and how contracts have been awarded. 

Responding to the announcement that NHS Direct is seeking to withdraw from its NHS 111 contracts, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the BMA’s GP committee said:

“The implementation and planning of NHS111 has been an abject failure.

“NHS Direct struggled to cope with the volume of calls it was receiving despite having years to plan for the launch of NHS 111. Other already overstretched services, such as GP out of hours providers, have had to step in and undertake the workload that was supposed to be dealt with by NHS 111. It is worrying that patients had to wait twice as long as recommended for their calls to be answered.

“Sadly, many of these failures have occurred in many parts of the country.

“The decision by NHS Direct to seek a withdrawal from its contracts to provide NHS 111 reveals worrying flaws not just with the tendering process for NHS 111 contracts, but for how contracts are awarded and monitored throughout the NHS. The Department of Health gave the BMA written assurances that there would be strict safeguards in place to ensure that NHS 111 providers would have the clinical and financial ability to deliver a safe, effective service to patients1.

“A number of local GPs2 and the BMA raised concerns during the tendering process about the low nature of some of the successful bids which were ignored.

“If this failure can occur with NHS 111, there is no reason why it could not happen with other parts of the NHS, as demonstrated by the recent investigation into the provision of out of hours services in Cornwall. Tonight’s Dispatches programme is likely to highlight a further catalogue of mistakes across NHS 111’s operations. We cannot have a situation where patients are placed at risk or suffer from substandard healthcare because contracts have been improperly awarded.

“The government should expand its review into NHS 111 to include an examination of what went wrong with the tendering process, particularly whether providers were given an advantage if they put in the lowest bid. There must be a firm commitment in the light of this failure from ministers that the procurement process across the NHS meets strict quality standards and happens safely and effectively.

“If NHS 111 is to recover it must receive proper funding and be closely integrated with local NHS services. The government must review its competitive tendering approach and instead look towards an integrated model based on cooperation between local services.”

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