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Call centre ‘jungle’, compliments to the NHS and should Facebook carry a health warning?



By Laura Passi

Our roundup of health news headlines on Friday 19 November

Call centres instead of receptionists – the idea that has got everyone in a furore. We reported yesterday: ‘National call centres to handle all GP appointments under DH-backed plans‘. And the story’s gone national.

On the front page of the Telegraph this morning, it appears under the headline: ‘Book time to see GP via central call centre‘. It also makes the front page of the Daily Mail.

The Daily Mirror say patients would face a ‘chaotic “jungle” of call centres just to get an appointment with their doctor under coalition plans for the NHS.’

The Daily Express talks of the angry reception to the plans: ‘Campaigners branded the scheme half-baked and warned that patients would be left at the mercy of “unconcerned staff”.’

Moving on to some good news from the Guardian: ‘NHS fares best on free access to healthcare‘. A study by the thinktank the Commonwealth Fund has found that ‘Britain is the only country in the industrialised world where wealth does not determine access to healthcare’.

The Times reports that there is a massive variation in maternity care depending on where you live. For example: ‘Caesarean sections are twice as common in some parts of the country as others, for no clinical reasons.’

We finish the digest with the Daily Mail, who ask the fundamental question: ‘Should Facebook carry a health warning?

The question comes after reports that a teenager suffered an asthma attack after seeing his ex-girlfriend’s profile on the site. We’re told ‘the sight of this seemed to induce shortness of breath, which happened whenever the patient viewed her profile’.

Apparently this warning ‘was echoed by British experts, who claim that stressful situations were a well-known trigger for vulnerable patients.’

But others are less sure. Professor Jon Ayres, director of the Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Birmingham, told the paper: ‘We see people brought in with asthma attacks who have just come from funerals or other stressful situations; this is nothing new. I guess that Facebook simply provides another way in which susceptible people can be exposed to stressful situations.’

Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…

Daily digest