Steve Hugh Award
THE out-of-hours emergency doctor service in Ludlow will continue for at least another year.
It is run by a consortium of local doctors and was going to be scrapped several months ago but was saved after the introduction of the 111 emergency call service was abandoned as a fiasco. ‘Shropdoc’ enables people to speak directly with a doctor.
This is in contrast to the 111 service in which people were asked computer generated questions asked by someone with no medical qualifications. The service that was also introduced in other parts of the country was widely criticised and is attributed to an increase in the number of 999 calls and direct visits to accident and emergency units.
Under the new arrangements patients in Shropshire will still be able to contact Shropdoc directly for out of hours GP services, but patients will also be able to call NHS111 which will be a 24/7 service to be provided by West Midlands Ambulance Service, from November 2013. This decision to continue with Shropdoc has been welcomed by Ludlow MP Philip Dunne.
“The most important of the national requirements is that a trained operator use NHS Pathways to identify services that would best meet the patient’s needs, a system that WMAS already use.” said Philip Dunne. “Even with substantial investment over the coming months it would not be possible to bring Shropdoc up to the standards required of an NHS111 service. “Running Shropdoc alongside the NHS111 WMAS service will help patients receive a more complete service in line with other areas of the country.”