Any thoughts? Some people I know suggest that it should be replaced by an answerphone message saying "You're probably OK but if you think it's serious, pop down to A & E" whereas others have been totally taken care of by it.
My judgement of them is a negative one based on how they seem to run the company. Had a mate a few years ago who had an interview, was offered the job and then they reneged on the offer.
My old gf had to use NHS direct several times when I was around as out of hours care is non-existent. They usually said "if it's anyworse go to the out of hours drop-in centre" or got a doctor to call back (about an hour later). Not bad but not useful as one could theoretically have been treated/seen to quicker by the drop-in centre route.
It's useless (well... possible overstatement)
Used it a couple of times.
Got told to go to A&E.
A&E staff got miffed at injury. Said "Why are you here?"
Replied "Advised to by NHS Direct"
Cue much rolling of eyes by A&E staff.
So my experience is that the advice given out was not appropriate.
In principle i think it's a very good idea - lots of people on hand to reassure paranoids who would otherwise take up valuable doctors' time (myself included). They were good when I thought i was dying of a broken leg a few weeks ago!!
Like most of what comes out of Richmond House it's good in theory, cr@p in practice. We were supposed to try using them for our follow-up service. Didn't work and we're back to face-to-face appointments again
I've had a mixed experience with NHS Direct. I work in a boarding school and we occasionally call them for advice about things or for the out of hours service.
On a Sunday morning they were able to pass on our details for the local on call Doctor to call us who then gave us advice and an appointment.
On another occasion, some years ago, I called them for advice relating to a head injury. They arranged for the Doctor to call us back. In hindsight they should have heard the words head injury and said go straight to A and E.
Another time I rang them as a pupil was showing some symptoms which I thought could be a side effect of the medication they had been prescribed. The patient information leaflet said seek medical advice urgently. I rang them and they had no idea about the medicine and asked me to read the patient information leaflet to them. I had thought they may have had access to this information, but no.
Well, sorry to piss all over your sceptical bonfire, but whenever I phoned them when the nippers were a bit younger, I found them authoritative, knowledgeable, reassuring, sympathetic and helpful. Oh, and accurate in their advice. Oh Oh, and confidential.
Unlike my GP's snooty 'You can't see the doctor until you have divulged enough information for me to share with my neighbours' reception or our local 'sorry take a seat you haven't been shot' A&E
Whenever the kids have been ill or had a trauma injury, I've always found NHS Direct to be reassuring and helpful. They gave sound advice to see us through until morning when the doc could take a look at the symptoms/injuries etc.