GPs call for independent inquiry into NHS 111 fiasco

LMCs have unanimously called for an independent inquiry into the NHS 111 'debacle' and warned that the service is putting patients' lives at risk.

Dr Peter Holden: independent inquiry needed
Dr Peter Holden: independent inquiry needed

GPs at the UK LMCs conference said a review NHS England had offered to set up was not good enough, and unanimously backed a motion demanding an independent inquiry.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said that a review commissioned by NHS England would 'give them the answer they want'.

'This has to be both independent and external,' he said. 'We need to have uncovered the managerial attitudes which are of a nature incompatible with Francis recommendations. Those incompatible attitudes were demonstrated to me by NHS 111 officials as recently as two months ago and within the last two weeks.

'Post Francis we cannot have managers and senior civil servants selling multiple sets of emperors' new clothes back to ministers so ministers can have soundbites. Please keep the war stories coming.'

Manchester LMC's honorary chairman Dr John Hughes said the roll out had been a 'complete disaster'.

'It was an absolute mess,' he told the conference. 'We are back to the out-of-hours service for an indefinite period. The findings of the pilots were ignored. It is putting patients' lives at risk.'

Dr Mark McKenzie from Northamptonshire LMC called for NHS 111 to be scrapped altogether because it increased practice workload, 999 calls and ambulance call-outs.

But Dr Lilian Awere from Wandsworth LMC said that although the roll out of was a 'disaster', she backed an inquiry because NHS 111 could be 'turned around'.

NHS England announced 'an urgent review' of the service earlier this month. It said that it would consider the actions of ‘predecessor organisations’, including how contracts ‘were awarded to providers who so patently, on day one when the service went live, could not provide the service that had been commissioned’.

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