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Northern Ireland may get NHS Direct

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Ministers in Northern Ireland are to consider introducing a nurse-led telephone triage system, based on NHS Direct.

Ministers in Northern Ireland are to consider introducing a nurse-led telephone triage system, based on NHS Direct.

Northern Ireland health minister Michael McGimpsey said he would be considering the idea as part of a comprehensive spending review in October.

'I am interested in developing an NHS Direct-type service for the people of Northern Ireland,' he told the Northern Ireland Assembly last week.'I believe this would provide improved access to advice and information on health matters,' he said.

Janice Smyth, RCNNorthern Ireland deputy director, said she welcomed interest in developing such a service for the country. 'Nurses would have a leading role to play in the development and delivery of such a 24-hour service,' she said.

Based on population figures, and the number of nurses employed by Scotland's NHS 24, around 100 nurses could be created to set up something similar in Northern Ireland.

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