The latest move in this National Health Service (NHS) game of ‘stand up, sit down, keep moving’ is the scrapping of NHS Direct and the piloting of 111 – the new number for non-emergency calls. But will it be as good?
While NHS Direct is a nurse-led telephone advice service, it’s not entirely clear whether the single point of access 111 number will offer the same level of advice – it might simply point people in the right direction for the services they need.
Many of my friends have young kids and they’ve shared their positive experiences of NHS Direct. So it’s hard to know if this move to three-digits will prove a simpler route for health advice, or whether it’s more about old-fashioned cost-cutting.
And that’s the feeling I get as I struggle to stay afloat on a raft of NHS changes. No more primary care trusts. GP’s commissioning health services, all gone. Bye, bye Audit Commission. Nice knowing you Patient Safety Agency. See you later NHS targets… well, you get the idea.
The trade union Unison says that this barrage of changes is the problem. No-one’s asked me – or any other member of the great, unwashed public – what we think. And actually it’s hard to form a coherent view when you’re feeling somewhat bombarded.
I’ve never used NHS Direct anyway, but I know a lot of mums and dads out there have, and perhaps you have too. Are you sad to see it go, and what should the new 111 learn from it?