KCC to retain HealthWatch
less money. It will still be a fullblooded service.
“The first year has been a learning curve and we did not know what we could do. It will be very much more pro-active than it has been and will carry on as a round-the-clock operation.”
He said alternative patient helplines run by hospital and primary care trusts were not as effective.
“You try ringing the west Kent helpline at 3am on Christmas morning.”
The NHS still perceived the scheme as a threat, he added.
“I think it is fair to say that they fear it but they have no reason to do so, unless they are delivering a poor service and if they are, then people will speak out about it.”
The initiative was launched on the back of the publication of damning reports into two outbreaks of Clostridium difficile at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.
To date, some 500 people have used the 24-hour service.