MP Raises Questions On NHS111 Helpline

Scilly's MP, Andrew George

Scilly’s MP, Andrew George

Scilly’s MP has raised concerns in Parliament about the controversial NHS111 helpline. It follows a correspondence from a constituent who wrote to him to say they felt “frustrated, patronised and ultimately quite vulnerable” after calling the helpline.

The call handler went through a series of questions with the pensioner, one of which was, “are you conscious?”

Andrew George is also unhappy that the call centre is based 200 miles away in Newport in Wales.

Minister Norman Lamb responded saying that Christmas was a busy period but he accepted there needs to be improvement.

Mr George has called for a review of the service.

In 2012, when the NHS111 line was announced, Scilly’s councillors were told that around 650 calls had been placed annually from Scilly to the NHS Direct service it replaced.

Dr John Garman urged residents to continue to use the local number 422628, which is routed through the hospital. John felt that local clinicians, rather than call centre staff on the mainland, were better placed to tailor a response to the needs of patients here.