111 ‘clog­ging up ca­su­alty’

Daily Mail - - Front Page -

NHS helpline staff need­lessly send hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple a year to A&E, re­search sug­gests.

Nearly three quar­ters of pa­tients sent by the NHS 111 ser­vice to emer­gency de­part­ments do not ac­tu­ally need hos­pi­tal care, Cam­bridge Univer­sity ex­perts found.

The prob­lem is the use of soft­ware to make de­ci­sions about how pa­tients are dealt with, the re­searchers said. The sys- tem uses cal­cu­la­tions that pro­duce ‘risk averse’ ad­vice, they said. They think this is putting ex­tra pres­sure on A&E units at a time when hos­pi­tals are al­ready over­run.

They looked at data in Cam­bridgeshire where a GP was asked to re­view de­ci­sions by call han­dlers to send pa­tients to hos­pi­tal. The doc­tor felt that only 00 out of 1, 7 needed A&E treat­ment while 09 needed no med­i­cal help at all.

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