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Saturday, 28 August 2010

NHS Direct to be scrapped

So, finally one of the most expensive parts of the NHS is to be scrapped, but is this the right decision?

The problem with NHS Direct is without very intense follow up telephone calls and research it is hard to monitor its effectiveness both from a cost perspective and effectiveness.

I used the service once when I still lived in England and I was given bad advice and different advice from the two telephone calls within an hour of each other.

No one ever called me back to ask my opinions or how I found the service - I ended up going to my GP so actually on that occasion it cost the NHS more because of the failure of the two staff to listen to what I was saying.

How is the service NHS Direct provides actually measured and assessed, if you visit their website it isn't easy to digest or find the information?

Apparently the NHS Direct service is actually to be replaced with a cheaper option, a 1-1-1 service which is currently being piloted in the North East of England.

I wonder on what basis Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has come to the decision to scrap NHS Direct?

Given that NHS Direct is currently tendering for Usability Experience Pre Qualification Questionnaire service providers with a closing date of 1st October, I wonder what Andrew Lansley will say to any of those companies that have spent money and taken time to prepare a tender, never an easy thing to write?

Will he be offering any compensation to those companies involved in the tendering process?

How will the transformation from NHS Direct to 1-1-1 take place, will all the staff keep their jobs or will they all be made redundant and then invited to apply for jobs in the new scheme?

Well let us await an announcement from the Health Secretary rather than jumping on a bandwagon as Andy Burnham MP has done, see here what he tells the BBC News website;

He said:
"The health secretary's statement will stun people across the NHS.

"It is yet more evidence that Andrew Lansley is on a vindictive mission to break up the NHS, ruthlessly dismantling services before alternatives are in place."
Honestly, what a load of crap these Labour leadership candidates talk sometimes, let's wait and see first what Lansley has to say.

One thing that annoys me though is yet another major decision by a government Minister done through a visit or the media rather than through Parliament.

Labour were bad at this during their thirteen years of government, I sincerely hope that Nick Clegg holds the Conservative partners in the coalition to account on things like this.

Major decisions such as this should always come via Parliament.


NHSDirect said...

I have a friend who works for NHSDirect.
The calls are all recorded and audited with follow up training for staff if required.
The main problem is timewasters who are mad or lazy. Shouldn't be allowed near a phone never mind a call to NHS Direct or should get off their fat arse and get some exercise rather than sit eating chips and sweating and feeling sick all the time.
Lots of perverts aswell who enjoy phoning up with penis problems etc. The staff have to take these morons seriously and it can take half an hour to get them off the line.
Virgin and Bupa are sniffing around trying to take over the service so you can imagine the retrograde step that would be. Probably charge premium rates to phone for advice and give 2 weeks training to spotty students to hand it out. ' Go to the doctor' will be the main answer. Like the swine flu scam all over again.

Andrew Allison said...

I have used NHS Direct on a couple of occasions and my opinions are mixed. I have always thought it was medicine on the cheap. GPs are handsomely rewarded for their work, yet they work fewer hours now than they used to. If you have have a medical complaint that cannot be dealt with by a pharmacist, then you see your GP. It really should be as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

I left the NHS because of nonsense like this, poltical interference in the system with little or no scientific evidence base. The very setting up of this system in the first place was dubious.
I hope too that they are held to account but I am skeptical.

Anonymous said...

The principle of the decision is not being denied. So has the Lib Dem depute for Health Secretary Andrew Lansley must have approved this. Or does the coalition work in the same way as Holyrood did?

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