NHS 111 pilots hope to offer daytime GP appointments

GPs leading on NHS 111 pilots have said the schemes could evolve to offer in-hours GP appointment bookings.

NHS 111 pilots: hotlines send many patients to GP services (Photograph: Istock)
NHS 111 pilots: hotlines send many patients to GP services (Photograph: Istock)

GPs piloting the local non-emergency NHS hotlines said they had not begun work on this to date, but hoped to do so in the future.

The hotlines currently direct a large proportion of callers to GP practices, they said.

Dr Katherine Noble, a GPSI and clinical lead of the County Durham and Darlington NHS 111 pilot, said in-hours appointment bookings could be offered in future. This was an 'obvious add-on' to the service, and would support GPs' day-to-day practice, she said.

Dr Noble said: 'I believe there could be some technological issues in doing this, but hopefully, as part of ongoing work with consortia, we will be able to work that into our proposals.'

Dr Ruth Livingstone, a GP and clinical lead for NHS 111 pilots in Nottingham City and Lincolnshire, said that direct GP bookings in or out-of-hours would be considered if local GPs wanted the service.

Dr Livingstone also said the pilot was looking to expand the NHS 111 service from Nottingham city across the county.

NHS Durham and Darlington is considering similar plans, and could roll out its NHS 111 service across the north east of England by 2012.

Dr Noble said: 'NHS 111 is here to stay and the question is how it morphs and evolves and that's why we will continue to work with consortia.'

GPs working on the pilots said a large proportion of callers were signposted to in-hours GP services, out-of-hours and walk-in centres, but GPs had not been overburdened.

Dr Noble said: 'Some are worried that this service will increase demand, but the data we have doesn't suggest that.'

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