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Concerns over proposed changes to current Shropdoc servcice
LIVES will be put at risk while pressure on the 999 emergency services and hospital accident and emergency units will increase if a changes to on-call provision go ahead.
That’s the warning from campaigners trying to secure the future of the Shropdoc service.
Peter Corfield, chairman of the Ludlow League of Friends, is leading a fight to retain the service in its present a new NHS 111 service earmarked to begin next year.
It had been thought that the intervention of Ludlow MP Philip Dunne had secured the retention of Shropdoc.
But after looking at a proposed comprimise, campaigners are saying the provision is just not good enough.
“The key issue is that as I understand it under this proposal, people with concerns will still speak initially to a nonmedical professional who, using a tick list questionnaire, will decide if the caller needs to talk to a medical professional,” said Peter Corfield.
“With Shropdoc at the moment the person who makes the call gives a number and is called back by a medical professional.
“Shropdoc was introduced to replace NHS direct in this area partly in response to the increasing number of inappropriate 999 calls and number of people unnecessarily turning up at A&E.
“People will not have confidence in putting their own lives or the lives of their loved ones in the hands of someone with no medical knowledge working from a tick list.
“They will understandably take matters into their own hands and bypass 111 by calling 999 or by going directly to hospital.”
Mr Dunne had sought to qualify the situation after a statement from Dr Caron Morton of the new clinical commissioning body that was described as “gobbledegook”.
Dr Morton had said: “We remain committed to retain the services of Shropdoc as our local out of hours’ provider.
Shropdoc is working closely with us on service redesign and projects and our local NHS 111 pathways group is designing the service around having a strong local out of hours presence to ensure a continuation of the service that is currently available to patients within the parameters of the move to NHS 111.”
Philip Dunne took up the case with Paul Tulley, chief operating officer at the PCT and was told: “When the 111 service is introduced patients will call 111 instead of the Shropdoc number.
But if patients need to see or speak to a local out of hours doctor they will be directed to Shropdoc which will continue to provide the service for Shropshire patients.”
But this has not impressed Peter Corfield who believes that the situation remains as clear as mud.
“The matter is far from clarified and we will continue to fight for Shropdoc in its present form,” said Mr Corfield.
“As far as we can see it still appears as if the decision about whether professional medical intervention is needed will be left to a call centre operator with a tick list.”