At this time of year most people will be familiar with the phrase Christmas is coming and has been doing so since last January but a series of meetings some of the team have been to fills us with dread. For we have been told that NHS 111 is coming from next April.
So what is NHS 111 you may ask? You can read the Party's spin on it here and here.
In essence it is the dumbed down version of the spectacular failure of call centre medicine the NHS reDirect service. Instead of nurses reading a US ambulance dispatcher's algorithm they will be replaced by (cheaper less experienced with possibly only 6 weeks training) technicians "supported" by nurses who will read from a US ambulance dispatcher's algorithm.
So marginally better then the NHS Swine flu line but not as "good" as NHS reDirect's nurse using a US ambulance dispatcher's algorithm. After all 6 weeks "training" always tops 3 years training with real patient experience.
Remember comrades that NHS reDirect was said to divert a third of its calls to A&E or GPs. Look at the top of the second link where it says NHS 111 is for "health advice and reassurance" (from technicians). Should it not read for no advice and plenty of redirection?
The worrying thing we have heard as GPs from our local Soviet NHS 111 commissar is that local GPs will be "persuaded" to change their out of hours messages to "advise" the patient to ring the NHS 111 number first (or else).
We are also "advised" NOT to tell our comrade patients of this change before it goes "live" in case they ring the number now and are welcomed to NHS 111 trial sites which may well be outside of their area for there will be a "national" re education programme to ensure that no comrade patient gets it wrong. So remember to stay up late into the small hours to see the public information ads re NHS 111 when adverts are cheap to broadcast.
Now given that the previous Party wanted all comrade patients to only have to make one phone call to access the GP out of hours service is this not a backwards step?
Can you imagine how patients will feel when instead of being able to ask for a GP service they then spend 20 minutes on a phone with a technician before they are told to ring the GP out of hours service, which is what they wanted to do in the first place?
Or better still will they get the call back option that NHS reDirect offers our patients as standard of at least two hours for a nurse call back option? Anyone wonder why A&E admissions go up when the services designed to reduce A&E admissions encourage them?
We are told that NHS 111 will lead to an extra 2 patients per unit of patient numbers per day in daylight hours. Hmmm well NHS reDirect certainly had much better productivity than that comrades and none of them ever needed to be seen within the 4 hours algorithm decided "emergency" time.
Each call will generate a new load of electronic garbage which we suspect will be a mere 36 pages of A4 if printed off in contrast to the current out of hours 3 pages which is full of such stuff like is the patient breathing?
Well if they are talking to you on the phone can you guess what the answer is to that question?
Praise be to the Party for realizing once again that if you have a problem with no solution create a call centre. You know it makes sense.
NHS 111 makes no sense. It will duplicate and increase work in order to get the patient to the same place as they would got to before NHS reDirect and NHS 111 were even thought of and increase costs in order to do so.
Efficiency savings ladies?