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Backlog builds on new outsourced NHS helpline

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Issue 2352

The plan to roll the new outsourced NHS 111 helpline out nationally has been delayed by the launch of an investigation last week.

But the service has been introduced in some areas.

The service is being investigated for its role in “serious untoward incidents” and possible unnecessary deaths in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire. 

It has been severely criticised for not hiring enough staff to answer the phones.  

Diane in Hackney, east London, phoned 111 last Friday when her friend’s week-old baby developed swelling on the back of her head. 

“We wanted to know if it was an emergency,” she told Socialist Worker. “But we couldn’t get through. The message said there was a high volume of calls and we had to wait.”

“We decided we couldn’t risk waiting and just went to A&E.”

Fortunately in this case the problem wasn’t serious or life threatening.

But the NHS is being sold off to private companies that only care for profit —and that puts lives in danger.

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