Anyone wanting an appointment will first have to contact NHS Direct by dialling 111, which will be used as the new non-emergency medical number.
There are also concerns that it could erode the role of dedicated GP receptionists – many of whom build up a close rapport with their doctors\’ patients – with people having to deal with anonymous call centre staff with little medical experience instead. Unions believe thousands of receptionists could lose their jobs.
Call centre staff would then make their booking remotely, meaning patients would no longer speak to a GP receptionist directly.
Doctors behind the proposal believe it will make booking appointments easier, but patients\’ groups fear that many will find having to book through a call centre \”hugely frustrating\”.
The scheme is being tested by 20 practices in Surrey, and appears to have the backing of Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary.
Why centralise something at the same time as you\’re telling everyone that things should be decentralised?
And completely and entirely against what we know about how things actually work in the real world. Knowledge is local and simply cannot be centralised.
The GP\’s receptionist will know which patient is at death\’s door (quite literally) and who really does need someone to vamoose out there pronto with more heroin: who has called the surgery at 9.30 am every single damn day for the past decade, who has the little autistic boy, who is ill but never insists and so on. Who prefers to see \”their own\” doctor, who will see any female (or male) such, the list of what is known at the local level goes on and on.
In what cockweaseled version of the universe would anyone try to centralise such a service and thus lose all such knowledge?
And which moron of a Tory would do so while working to localise the rest of the damn health service at the same time?
Didn\’t take all that long but yes, this is finally something being suggested by the Coalition which is entirely and stupendously stupid.