NHS Direct is unwell

NHS Direct has the skids well and truly under it. Vandalism! Cutbacks! Distruction of the People’s NHS cries Labour.

But what was it all about? If you were ill, you were supposed to call NHS Direct and they’d tell you what to do about it – generally “Get the down to A+E or your GP service to check it out.” If you, or your child are ill, this is what you’re going to do anyway.

Having an telephone helpline for discussion of medical matters is a good thing, especially for anyone without any books on the subject or access to the Internet. Apparently this is just what we’re getting instead – it’ll be cheaper than having medically qualified on the end asking the questions and then suggesting a personal visit anyway. “Civilians” cand do that, as long as they’re briefed not to overstep their remit.

GPs came out against NHS Direct yet again in June, so presumably we’ll be hearing they’re pleased with the result. No one I know has every had much joy in calling them, although the “worried well” may have had some comfort – or had their hypochondria fueled. It’s just New Labour, upset that the new government has stopped paying for their gimmick. As to the staff that’ll be made redundent, apart from the management consultants they’re generally qualified nurses answering the ‘phone. Don’t we need more nurses actually nursing to the extent we’re importing them from the third world? I don’t see a problem with them being redeployed.

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