Intended for healthcare professionals


NHS Direct

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 12 August 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:446

Doctors may gain time to use their true skills if people start using NHS Direct

  1. Steve Kempley, consultant neonatologist (
  1. Royal London Hospital, London E1 1BB
  2. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Guy's Hospital, London SE1 9RT
  3. St George's Hospital, London SW17 0QT
  4. Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds LS1 3EX

    EDITOR—O'Cathain et al's paper confirming that advice offered by nurses through NHS Direct was useful to callers1 should make us question the generally hostile opinions on this service propounded in free publications that derive their income from pharmaceutical advertising.2

    Telephone advice can form an important part of an NHS that needs to meet people's concerns, even if some of these concerns seem trivial to doctors working under pressure. The primary end point of NHS Direct should be whether it meets the needs of its callers for information not whether it reduces work for any sector of the medical profession. If an increasingly information hungry population cannot get information from the NHS it will turn to other sources, which may be …

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