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NHS 111 must be scrapped, say LMC leaders

NHS 111 should be scrapped with no attempt made to salvage the current service, GP leaders have overwhelmingly said.

Voting at the annual LMCs Conference in London today – which sets the agenda for the year’s GPC negotiations – representatives from Somerset LMC proposed that ‘NHS 111 in its present form should be scrapped’.

The proposal was to be voted on in four parts on how the service should be reformed, including re-commissioning it as a local service, integrated with unscheduled care, using clinical advisors.

But Dr Faye Wilson – an ex-chair of the LMCs conference and a leader of an out-of-hours organisation – said that the conference should vote on it to be scrapped ‘full stop’.

It comes on the same day that Pulse revealed that three-quarters of NHS 111 referrals were inappropriate, according to GPs.

Proposing the motion from Somerset LMC , Dr Sue Roberts told delegates: ‘We get the out of hours GPs re-triaging 111 calls, we should get it right first time, and the obvious answer to this is to have triage integrated with the unscheduled care providers, with clinicians at the front line.’

Dr Wilson said that 111, ‘like communism’, was a great idea that had not been borne out in practice.

She told delegates: ‘Two thirds of patients we see in out of hours are forced to use NHS 111 to get in, and despite the fact that we lost funding – because we don’t now handle these calls – we spend as much time sorting out queries, checking information and making outgoing calls, as we used to do handling the calls.’

She added: ‘It should be scrapped. Full stop.’

By suggesting modifications to the service, the impact of the call for the scheme to be scrapped ‘is watered down to a homeopathic level.’

Also opposing the parts of the motion, Dr Sian Whyte of Buckinghamshire LMC told delegates: ‘NHS 111 in its present form should be scrapped, and any other proposed forms strangled at birth.

‘Repatriate the vast sums of money wasted on this folly to grassroots general practitioners and out of hours providers, who will provide better care for less money.’

Motion in full

SOMERSET: That conference believes that NHS 111 in its present form should be scrapped.