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NHS Direct offers services to GPs


NHS Direct could start booking GP appointments after starting talks with Surrey based consortium EsyDoc.

Getting thorough to GP surgeries to book appointments by phone is a common complaint of patients with a fifth of respondents to the recent GP patient survey reporting it was difficult.

NHS Direct and EsyDoc are still working out the details of how the system might work.

The proposal emerged after NHS Direct approached nine emerging consortia to discuss what sorts of services they would be interested in commissioning from NHS Direct.

These could include consortia websites linking to NHS Direct online health and symptom checkers which direct the patient to the most appropriate form of care; managing long term conditions; triage of same day appointments and appointment booking.

The telephone triage service is seeking to expand its services as its traditional role is under threat from the development of the NHS 111 urgent care number which will be commissioned locally under the any willing provider approach.

Dr Brian Gaffney, NHS Direct medical director, said: “Any service that we develop would be in response to what local commissioners want, and only if we could provide a good service for patients.”


Readers' comments (2)

  • Kadiyali Srivatsa

    Its not service when we expect people to pay but "Business". Thriving on others displeasure is bad but thriving on other pain must be considered a sin.

    Its our duty as doctors to help alliviate pain and suffering and this is called "Medical Ethics". If a fellow human is suffering, he or she must have open access to contact doctors like me. By forcing people to pay is un-ethical.

    I was surprised to hear the cost for booking an appointment is likely to be £3.70 (0.40p/min), juts imagine how the cost will escalate if the patient wants to speak to a doctor.

    I have worked in triage centres and felt bad when some patients abused the system. These patients were wasting and often abusive or complained if we requested them to focus on the problem. Now the irony is people who need our help will suffer though I feel happy this will reduce time wasters.

    The sad thing about this is that seriously ill patients who cannot afford to pay will suffer.

    To help doctors like me and reduce patients wasting time and money visiting A&E or GPs, I developed a simple tool called "MAYA". The tool will help patients to grade their symptoms and seek help only when necessary. I thought NHS will be keen to use this tool to help reduce demand but they did not. Now I know why. How could I have been so stupid and expect them to kill a goose that lays golden eggs...

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    I visited your website Your thoughts on patient's taking up GP appointments, visiting A+E with minor health issues that could be self-managed easily is right, over usage of antibiotics is also right. But your website information is full of poor grammer, so appears very unprofessional. There is no research or journal articles that you have written mentioned, so no true evidence! I'm sorry but I feel NT's is not the place to promote MAYA. This tool appears to be aimed at patients so I have searched the top medical journals and research databases and no studied for MAYA have been completed. Please can you provide up to date research for a tool you want the public to buy into!

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