Can you or anyone you know still remember the old NHS direct phone number?
Did you find yourself pointlessly delayed in trying to find the number when you needed it? Would anyone argue that replacing the number with the simple ‘111’ was a bad idea? How about changing the number, slashing the number of qualified staff to answer the phone and introduce a system of charging GPs for the service so almost no one understands how the system works?
Why not go even further and scrap the service altogether and allow private companies to bid for and run the service? It’s no wonder it’s been a shambles.
What has happened to the NHS isn’t so much a top down reform and a total dismantling of every nut and bolt that holds the NHS together jumbling it all up and having no plan to put it back together. There were three main concerns about scrapping NHS Direct: there would be a reduction in the number of trained nurses taking the calls; that it wouldn’t produce any significant savings as private providers pulled out profit, and that more patients would end up in A and E or in ambulances.
All three concerns have come to be and it’s not just ‘the Urgent Care Phone Line’ that’s proving to be a shambles the whole system is creaking under the strain. Public and patient satisfaction is at a record low. 6,800 patients are left wondering if they can rely on the service and are tempted by the every growing number of private health care adverts that promise wonders for a price.
You have to wonder if this is part of the plan. After all the Tory party received millions and millions in funding from private health care providers.
Anthony John Rutherford