Monthly Archives: March 2013

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NHS 111 helpline puts patient safety at risk?

2017-04-21T11:13:32+00:00 March 28th, 2013|NHS|

The body representing doctors in Britain has called for a delay in the launch of a new non-emergency helpline, saying it is putting patient safety at risk. The British Medical Association (BMA) has written to Sir David Nicholson, the chief executive of the NHS, to highlight its concerns about the 111 advice line service, which is due to go live in England on Monday. Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA's GPs committee, questioned the quality of advice given out and said patients had been forced to wait for hours for advice, the BBC said. He also said the "chaotic mess" of the 111 service was straining parts of the NHS that were already stretched, potentially putting patients at risk. Buckman said: "There have been widespread reports of patients being unable to get through to an operator or waiting hours before getting a call back with the health information they have requested. "In some areas, such as Greater Manchester, NHS 111 effectively crashed because it was unable to cope with the number of calls it was receiving. The quality of advice being given out has also been questionable in some instances." He added: "The BMA has been warning the government about the problems with NHS 111 for almost two years. They must finally act to ensure that patient safety is guaranteed." Calling for a delay of the launch until it is "fully safe for the public", he said: "We cannot sacrifice patient safety in order to meet a political deadline for the launch of a service that doesn't work properly." Ministers admitted on Tuesday the introduction of the 111 telephone service had "teething problems". Labour spokesman Lord Hunt of Kings Heath warned of reports "up and down the country" of staff shortages and long waiting times to get through to [...]

Warning over NHS competition rules

2016-01-26T16:44:26+00:00 March 1st, 2013|NHS|

A leading architect of the government's NHS changes in England has warned they may be undermined by new rules opening the health service to more competition. Dr Michael Dixon told GPs' journal Pulse that regulations on tendering out services should be rephrased. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 doctors have written to the Daily Telegraph claiming the legislation makes "virtually every part" of the NHS open to private firms. The government insisted there was no policy to privatise NHS services. Budget responsibility Dr Dixon said clinicians would feel the whole process had been "a complete waste of time" unless the rules were changed. He said he feared GPs "will walk" from the entire clinical commissioning process if this was not done. The regulations are currently before Parliament, with the reforms taking effect in a month. New local clinician-led organisations will take over responsibility for much of the health budget. The rules for buying services set out in the regulations ban unnecessary restrictions on competition and say all providers - NHS or otherwise - should be treated equally. 'Eye off ball' Critics have said this is a blueprint for privatisation and goes against government assurances. Dr Dixon has been a leading champion of the changes, but he is worried that the proposed rules will mean doctors could get bogged down in the procurement process rather than getting on with making services better for patients. He said the danger with the current wording of the rules "is that it seems to put a duty upon the commissioner to go for competition with all contracts that are made". Dr Dixon said: "The aim of clinical commissioning was to innovate to redesign, to try and ensure that we do more outside of hospital and in primary care. "Now, if that is their aim and they start [...]