Consortium looks to NHS Direct to handle all GP calls

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 14 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d990
  1. Helen Mooney
  1. 1London

Staff at NHS Direct call centres may have to book GP appointments for thousands of patients across the country as the service attempts to expand its role and build new links with the new GP commissioning consortiums.

The proposal, put forward in NHS Direct board papers last month, suggests that the government’s new 111 number will become the number that patients will call for all primary care services, rather than just for urgent care, as is currently proposed.

The 111 telephone number is currently being piloted for urgent (non-emergency) calls in three areas through NHS Direct, the NHS’s telephone and internet service, on behalf of the Department of Health. If the pilot is successful the government hopes to expand the number nationally, and NHS Direct will be in the bidding to provide and service the 111 number. …

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