I apologise to the low-paid, stressed call handlers at 111 for my intemperate language in the recent Pulse article on GPs’ triage role.
They have not 15 hours’ but a full two weeks’ teaching and four weeks’ supervised training. I was distracted by thoughts of how a marketised NHS would cater for the hepatitis C-positive amphetamine user I was about to see.
On reflection 111 is a brilliant idea, and should have been kept as just an idea. People aren’t ‘brilliant’ and the range of dispositions show most callers are poor judges of what is ‘urgent’ and primary care is still the best first point of contact for healthcare.
In order to compensate for occasional untoward incidents, nearly 13% of calls result in a ambulance. I am sure primary care could have dealt with those more appropriately. That funding could have gone into primary care rather than creating a (cattle) marketplace of touting providers.
From Dr Chris Udenze