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NHS Direct – a telephone helpline for England and Wales

  • Jed Boardman (a1) and Carolyn Steele (a2)
Extract

NHS Direct is a nurse-led telephone helpline covering England and Wales. The intention to develop this helpline was announced in December 1997 in a White Paper, The New NHS, Modern and Dependable (Department of Health, 1997), following recommendations in the Chief Medical Officers' report, Developing Emergency Services in the Community (Caiman, 1997). Three initial pilot sites were set up in Lancashire, Milton Keynes and Northumbria and began taking calls in March 1998. The project was extended in April 1999 to cover 40% of the population of England and by November 2000 was available throughout the whole of England and Wales. NHS Direct provides 24-hour advice and information via 22 call centres and is the largest telephone health care service in the world. A similar system is planned in Scotland, NHS 24.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Balas, E. A., Jaffrey, F., Kuperman, G. J., et al (1997) Electronic communication with patients. Evaluation of distance medicine technology. JAMA, 278, 152159.
Calman, K. (1997) Developing Emergency Services in the Community. The Final Report. London: NHS Executive.
Department of Health (1997) The New NHS: Modern and Dependable. London: Stationery Office.
Department of Health (1999a) NHS Direct Healthcare Guide. London: Doctor–Patient Partnership.
Department of Health (1999b) National Service Framework for Mental Health. London: Department of Health.
Department of Health (2000) NHS Direct A New Gateway to Healthcare'. London: Department of Health.
Farrer, K., Rye, P., Murdoch, L., et al (2000) Clinicians must be able to provide feedback and evaluate advice given. BMJ, 321, 446.
Florin, D. & Rosen, R. (1999) Evaluating NHS Direct. BMJ, 319, 56.
Gallagher, M., Huddart, T. & Henderson, B. (1998) Telephone triage of acute illness by a practice nurse in general practice: outcomes of care. British Journal of General Practice, 48, 11411145.
Latimer, V., George, S., Thompson, F., et al (1998) Safety and effectiveness of nurse telephone consultation in out of hours primary care: randomised controlled trial. BMJ, 317, 10541059.
Lawson, G. R., Furness, J. C., Santosh, S., et al (2000) Service has not decreased attendance at one paediatric A&E department. BMJ, 321, 1077
Mechanic, D. (1986) The concept of illness behaviour: culture, situation and personal predisposition. Psychological Medicine, 16, 17.
Munro, J. F., Nicholl, J., O'Cathain, A. O., et al (2000) Impact of NHS Direct on demand for immediate care: observational study. BMJ, 321, 150153.
Munro, J. F., Nicholl, J., O'Cathain, A. O., et al (2001) Evaluation of NHS Direct First Wave Sites. Second Interim Report to the Department of Health. Sheffield: Medical Research Unit, School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield.
O'Cathain, A. O., Munro, J. F., Nicholl, J. P., et al (2000) How helpful is NHS Direct? Postal survey of callers. BMJ, 320, 1035.
Payne, F., Jenkins, C., Harvey, K., et al (2001) Evaluation of the National NHS Direct Mental Health Project. London: King's College London.
Pencheon, D. (1998) NHS Direct. BMJ, 317, 1026.
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NHS Direct – a telephone helpline for England and Wales

  • Jed Boardman (a1) and Carolyn Steele (a2)
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