NHS Direct to undergo safety review

NHS Direct today announced a 12-week review to ensure it is providing safe medical advice.

The review will evaluate whether the treatment patients receive is clinically appropriate and safe compared to other service providers.

The BMA criticised NHS Direct this week after health minister Ben Bradshaw released figures showing that the average cost of a call to the phone service was more than £25.

The BMA said a GP visit was cheaper, at £20-£25 on average, although NHS Direct said the DoH figures were 'crude' and failed to take other work into account, which lowered the cost per call to around £16.

A recent review of urgent and out-of-hours care by the Healthcare Commission found that although government targets had been met, NHS Direct as a whole often did not work well.

NHS Direct is inviting health professionals to contribute to the review by attending workshops across England where anonymised calls will be analysed.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

NHS Direct

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