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The waiting game

NHS 111 still 'directing patients with potential coronavirus to consult their GP'

NHS 111 is directing patients with flu-like symptoms to consult their GP, without asking whether they have travelled from regions worst-affected by coronavirus, GPs have claimed.

The GP Committee of the BMA told Pulse they raised this issue with NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care on the weekend and are still awaiting an update.

GPC member Dr Peter Holden said: 'I drew it to the attention of the relevant clinical authorities at the weekend and am still waiting for a report on what is happening.'

Meanwhile a GP - who wished to remain anonymous - who worked out of hours on the weekend said: 'Reading NHS 111 reports, not one patient with flu-like symptoms had been asked if they had travelled from any of the affected regions.'

This comes as Public Health England has issued advice to GPs saying they should isolate patients with potential coronavirus and have them call NHS 111 for further advice.

Among others voicing their concern was Kent GP Dr Stephanie deGiorgio, who took to Twitter to call for NHS 111 to be stripped of its role in advising on the outbreak.

According to NHS England, patients using the NHS 111 service are presented with clear options what to do if they are concerned about coronavirus. Meanwhile, if deemed necessary call handlers will arrange for patients to be tested at a relevant facility such as pods set up in emergency departments.

An NHS England spokesperson said: 'NHS 111 does not advise patients with concerns about coronavirus to visit their GP.'

The news comes as it has been reported that two GPs are among eight confirmed UK coronavirus cases, and as several GP practices have temporarily closed as a precationary measure.

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Readers' comments (13)

  • Well prepared to spread it like wild fire the NHS behemoth seems.

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  • Nothing more than expected.

    Obviously didn’t learn from Swine Flu in 2009 when I saw patient in OOH in our local hospital. He told 111 he just came back from Texas with flu symptoms and 111 told him what to do. Shame what they said didn’t match anything NHS E, PHE and multiple more learned medical sources said.

    Be afraid: who needs quarantine with helpful advice like this!

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  • you get what you pay for. In this case - not much really.

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  • It’s incredible that people are dumb enough to ring “NHS 111” in the first place

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  • @harry : guidance to GPs is to advise patients to phone 111! sadly the 111 computer is one of the 42% who cannot read health information bulletins, so does not know about the risks or quarantine!
    This is as expected, and NHS/PHE again fails to do it's job. has anyone reported it to the MHRA or GMC?

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  • Where's Optimus?

    1. ive not seen Matt Hancock make any statements on the news ??? developing an app ?
    2. Arrowe park and milton keynes declared isolation facilities without informing even the local mp for Wirral

    3. who estimates incubation period 2 weeks
    Wuhan states can be up to 24 days
    come on.... those going to be released soon will need at least 4 weeks to be absolutely safe

    4. new cases being brought across
    surely those in isolation need to be seperated from each other aswell

    5. safety concerns for those in close proximity to the hospitals??

    6. superspreader named and shamed in news
    whats that all about ??
    surely his confidentiality needed to be protected
    suppose people can come forward if they have been in contact

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  • 111 is just a person with an algorithm isn’t it?
    Not surprising. The whole of the NHS is turning into an unthinking algorithm. My colleague said that the ‘human’ has been removed from the NHS and I thought ‘‘Goodness how true on all levels’. The NHS has turned into an automated sausage factory. Patients go in, are processed and are spat out.

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  • Where's Optimus?

    7. bus drivers bringing isolation patients - had no protection at all .. whilst medic sat next to them with full hazmat suits...
    hopefully future coach drivers will get full protection

    8. NHS direct 111 ... "go see your gp"
    a true suspician case will cause the practice to have to be shut down and fully cleaned..

    9. Isolation on a ship type facility sounds like the safest option .. LIKE THE DIAMOND PRINCESS

    10. Are we waiting for the spark that ignites the fire here?

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  • I triaged a patient and advised him to contact NHS111 as he has had lots of contact with people travelling to and from China over the last month. I received a call from NHS111 stating my referral was inappropriate as they are only classing patients as high risk if they have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus. At that point they had only been 4 confirmed cases!!

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  • 111 born of NHS Dire, the devils spawn.
    111 will say they are not directing the patients to GP practices it is the other, counterfeit, 111 that is responsible.
    CQC needs to look closely at the fit for purpose aspect of 111. It's not.

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