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GPs suggest scrapping NHS Direct

GPs have suggested scrapping NHS Direct to help cut down on health spending at their annual conference.

The British Medical Association questioned the effectiveness of the telephone service, as opposed to the website, and appealed to ministers to target the most wasteful areas of the NHS.

[quote top=Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA's GPs committee, said:]
It [NHS Direct] is an interposition between the patient and healthcare. It stops them getting through to nurses and has ended up an expensive telephone service." [/quote]

Nick Chapman, NHS Direct chief executive, defended the service stating that comments made about it are not backed up by data on what has actually been done.
He said: "Over half of patients who contact NHS Direct are given self-care advice for their problem, which means they can care for themselves at home without needing to seek face to face appointments."

A Department of Health spokesman added: "All NHS services, including NHS Direct, are regularly reviewed to ensure they continue to meet the needs of patients and offer the best value for money."