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Scottish nurse helpline 'failing'

GPs in Scotland have complained that NHS 24 has failed to reduce their workload and shows no sign of ever doing so.

The comments follow criticism of the Scottish version of NHS Direct from the president of the Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine.

A&E consultant Dr Ian Anderson said the NHS 24 nurses were 'sitting like monkeys in front of a computer' after three children were referred in error to an adult A&E department.

Dr Kenneth Harden, medical director of GP Emergency Medical Service in Glasgow, and a GP in the city, admitted there had been 'teething problems' since integration with NHS 24 began last month.

'We had some technical communication problems when the NHS 24 computer failed to send information to the co-op, but that has now been addressed,' he said.

Dr Stuart Scott, medical manager at Grampian Doctors on Call Service, the first co-op to pilot links with NHS 24, said the helpline had failed to achieve its aim of reducing GP workload.

'In-hours I can't see how they are going to make any difference whatsoever,' he said. Quitting the pilot remained an option, he added.

The Scottish GPC was due to meet last week with NHS 24 to discuss the progress of the roll-out of the £30-

million-a-year service across Scotland.

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