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NHS 111 sending ambulances 'because computer told them to', hospital refuse funding cuts and some good news on childhood obesity

A round up of the morning’s health news headlines

NHS 111 lay call handlers are knowingly dispatching unnecessary ambulances to patients because the computer told them too. An anonymous 111 call handler told the Independent that they recognise a nurse or GP could handle many of the calls they take, but they end up having to dispatch an ambulance because of the triage algorithm.

It comes as Pulse reports today that schemes to employ GPs in A&E departments are ‘pulling them away’ from 111 call centres due to workforce shortages.

General practice hopes of a shift of resources from hospitals saw a backlash yesterday when NHS trusts refused to accept another round of cuts to tariff pricing. NHS Providers, which represents 94% of NHS hospitals, has said it’s members could no longer ‘achieve the impossible’ of slashing budgets without compromising patient safety, reports The Guardian.

Lastly, the BBC reports that the growth in childhood obesity rates may be levelling off. A study using GP records found rates grew between 1994 and 2003 but not much in the last decade. Despite the good news, Public Health England said there is ‘no room for complacency’ as other studies have suggested the problem is still increasing.

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