UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

NHS111 systemic failings

As NHS111 braces itself for a huge increase in calls this bank holiday, the GP's magazine Pulse reports that at least 22 possible "serious untoward incidents" (or SUIs) related to the new NHS 111 have been reported since the launch of the service. These include three where a patient died, the magazine has claimed. http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/commissioning/commissioning-topics/urgent-care/22-nhs-111-serious-untoward-incidents-reported-including-three-deaths/20002842.article

UNISON nurses and health advisors organised a series of work-ins last year to highlight concerns not about pay or conditions but about the NHS111, the service that replaced NHS Direct, and in particular the new service's failure to allow nurses to "clinically assess" patients over the phone.

Michael Walker, UNISON National Officer for NHS111 said: "We consistently warned Health Ministers and the Department of Health that NHS111 had systemic failings built into it, because it did not allow for nurses to carry out "clinical assessments" of patients. This failing was coupled with a totally unrealistic price per call being demanded by the commissioners.

"We have had nurses in tears , frustrated and angry that despite their dire warnings, nobody would listen, they are very angry that patient care has been compromised and that patients are still not getting the service they require"

He said UNISON also understands that private companies who won NHS111 contracts are in some cases re routing callers back to NHS Direct old 0845 number or simply not answering calls.