News Roundup

British Columbia tries to reduce stress on health services with 24 hour nurse helpline

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 24 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:694
  1. David Spurgeon
  1. Quebec

    In an initiative echoing the UK government's attempts to reduce pressure on the NHS, the provincial government of British Columbia has launched a series of measures, including a 24 hour nurse telephone hotline, to relieve stress on overcrowded emergency rooms, overworked nurses, and busy general practitioners.

    It is also distributing 1.5 million free copies of a health guidebook to its citizens and setting up an internet website. From April 2001, British Columbians will have 24 hour, freephone access to HealthGuide Nurseline, staffed by specially trained registered nurses—rather like NHS Direct. The nurses will help callers to recognise and describe health problems accurately and explain the range of medically sound treatment …

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