Bring back NHS Direct - a nurse-led NHS advice line with national coverage
NHS Direct was one of the NHS's greatest successes. It answered five million calls a year, reduced trips to A&E and GP's surgeries and saved the NHS £200m a year.
But replacing NHS Direct - which covered 46 English regions - with NHS 111 has led to an inferior, fragmented service that has seen ambulance dispatch rates increase and more people going to A&E.
Under NHS Direct, 60% of all calls were answered by nurses. Under NHS 111, its less than 17%. 111 service providers are allowed to use people to answer calls with only 60 hours training.
Now NHS Direct, which only won 11 of the 46 NHS 111 tendered regions, intends to hand back all its contracts because it has proven to be 'financially unviable' to run a service on such a small scale.
A poll has also revealed that 85 per cent of GP practice managers were so fearful about the safety of NHS 111 they felt the phoneline should be closed.
We urgently call on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to abolish NHS 111, cancel all regional contracts and return to a nurse-led NHS advice line with national coverage.
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