Feeds

British Medical Association calls for long, slow rollout of NHS 111

It's not an emergency, man...

The essential guide to IT transformation

The British Medical Association (BMA) has written to health secretary Andrew Lansley over concerns about the implementation of the NHS 111 24-hour non-emergency phone service.

The letter, written by Dr Laurence Buckman, chair of the BMA's GPs committee, expresses "serious misgivings" about the roll out of the NHS 111 service.

"Our key concerns include specific problems in some of the pilot areas, failure to ensure a smooth transition or to address the impact on existing services, fitness for purpose of the new service, value for money and local sensitivity," Buckman wrote.

NHS 111 is being piloted in in seven primary care trust areas: Central Lancashire, County Durham and Darlington, Nottingham City, Isle of Wight, Lincolnshire, Luton and Derbyshire County. The service is due to be rolled out nationally in April 2013.

An evaluation of the pilots by the University of Sheffield is due to be published this spring. The BMA said it was also is concerned that the new service was being developed without a proper assessment of the pilots and adequate input from local clinicians, however.

The tendering process for providers is already under way, but the BMA said this was being rushed through. It is calling for a more flexible deadline so that fledgling clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) can play a full role in procurement decisions.

Buckman commented: "GPs have been telling us for quite some time about problems with the way the NHS 111 is being rolled out and the wider impact it could have on the health service.

"For example, in Shropshire, GPs are worried that patients will actually receive lower quality care as the clinicians who triage all calls to their out-of-hours provider are to be replaced by non-clinicians when NHS 111 takes over."

He said that a flexible deadline would allow local commissioners to work out a solution with NHS 111 and ensure the best option for their area.

Public health minister Anne Milton said: "We will consider the BMA's concerns. We agree that any long-term decision should be made with full approval from local commissioning groups. They should be fully engaged with the approach to delivering NHS 111."

Jo Webber, director of the Ambulance Service Network, agreed with the BMA's concerns about NHS 111. "A headlong rush to implementation will not necessarily benefit patients. It is vital to have buy-in first from clinical staff and future clinical commissioners," she said.

"This takes time to develop and the initial results from the pilots suggest that NHS 111 is really delivering where strong working relationships have been in place for some time."

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.