Well done, Scotland – pity NHS England won’t copy

Live in England?

English: NHS logo

Tried using 111 telephone service?

This service replaces NHS Direct.  Which was working perfectly well, using health professionals to answer calls.  Whenever I called I found staff were excellent.

Now, in a cost-cutting measure, these staff have been replaced by a private company.  And the NHS Direct staff made redundant.

But to make sure that somebody, somewhere still has their nose in the trough – last time I tried out 111 it was obvious that my data was going to be sold on.  Operator wasn’t interested in why I was calling – only in gathering my data.

And information supplied wasn’t a patch on what the NHS Direct staff supplied;  in fact they couldn’t help, and didn’t have a clue where I could go.

What’s happening in Scotland?

But, in a further twist to the ‘post code lottery’ effect, Pulse, the doctor’s magazine, comments that “The Scottish NHS 111 service ….. is the ‘complete contrast’ to the English version, the Scottish health minister has said.

Scottish patients, needing telephone advice, will use the 111 number – BUT will be answered by the NHS 24 service, a nurse-led service which is publicly run.

Commenting on the launch, Scottish health minister Alex Neil stressed that the Scottish and English services were ‘in complete contrast’ with one another.

‘In Scotland, the 111 number will be run by NHS 24 as a public service, in public hands – serving the needs of patients. This is in complete contrast to the approach adopted by the NHS in England, where different organisations, including private sector providers, are contracted to provide the number in different regions.’

I see why the Scots want independence.

What to do if you live in England

Complain to your local Council’s Health Councillor – with elections coming up they will be keen to help.

And if you live on the Borders – go up the road to use a friend’s telephone.



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