Tag Archives: NHS Direct

New NHS 111 Number for Non Emergency

最近導入された「111」番は、緊急性の低い医療案件を扱うNHSの新しい無料電話番号。このNHS 111サービスでは、訓練を受けたアドバイザーが経験豊富な看護師のサポートで、通報者の症状を聞いて、アドバイスをしたり、必要な場合はA&E(救急病棟)や時間外診療を行う医者urgent care centre(応急処置を施す診療所)、walk-in centre(予約不要の診療所)、近隣の看護師、緊急診療を受け付ける歯医者、深夜開業の薬局などに取り次いでくれる。6月から、以前からある同様のサービス・NHS Direct(0845 4647)に代わり、このNHS 111サービスが緊急でない要件を扱うようになる予定。


  • 緊急の場合は「999」をダイヤル
  • 緊急でない場合やよくある問題はかかりつけ医や地元薬局に電話
  • かかりつけ医が休診中の場合や、上記2つで迷う時は「111」

詳しく言うと、以下の場合は「111」に電話する(NHS 111ウェブサイトより)。

  • 健康上の助言が欲しいが、それほど緊急を要しない場合
  • A&Eに行った方がいいと思う場合や、応急処置が必要だと思う場合
  • 誰に相談していいか分からなかったり、電話できるかかりつけ医がいない場合
  • 健康に関する情報が欲しい場合や、何をしたらいいか知りたい場合

でも新しいシステムに問題はつきもの、NHS 111サービスも例外ではない。British Medical Association (BMA)(イギリス医師会)は、患者のリスクを高めるとして、システム導入の延期を要請(Guardian / Daily Mail)。また、4月13日付のタイムズ紙によると、通報してから返答の電話がかかって来るまで長時間待たされ、困った人々が緊急性の高い999番に電話したことで救急車に混乱をきたしたとして、イングランド46地区のうち24地区でサービスの展開を延期した。BBCによると、折り返しの電話がかかって来るまで、11時間半待たされた人もいるそうだ。早くこのサービスが軌道に乗ってくれないと、怖くて病気になれない。。。

111” is NHS’s new free-to-call phone number that you should remember for non-emergency medical problem. The NHS 111 service is staffed by a team of trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses. They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you straightaway to the local service that can help you best, such as A&E, an out-of-hours doctor, an urgent care centre or a walk-in centre, a community nurse, an emergency dentist or a late-opening chemist. The 111 telephone advice line is expected to replace the similar NHS Direct service with lengthy number (0845 4647) in dealing with non-emergency calls in June.

Here is the list of the public medical services available now in UK.

  • 999 for life threatening emergencies
  • The number of your local GP surgery or local pharmacist for less urgent health needs and routine problems
  • 111 for everything in between or for when your GP is closed

To be more precise, call 111 if (quoted from NHS 111 website):

  • you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

However, a new service always encounters problems, and NHS 111 is not an exception. British Medical Association (BMA) demanded for a delay in the launch of a NHS 111 helpline before it was introduced recently, saying it is putting patient safety at risk (Guardian / Daily Mail). According to the Times (April 13), the launch of the service had to be aborted in parts of the country, because it couldn’t cope or wasn’t ready. The roll-out had now been postponed in 24 of the 46 regions across England after people have been left waiting hours for answers to their queries and ambulance services had been overwhelmed as desperate callers resort to 999. BBC reported that one patient waited 11-and-a-half hours for a call back from the service. Hope it will start working well quite soon…

Long Waiting for GP appointment and NHS Service

GP clinicGP clinic

昨日、1年ぶりぐらいにGP(General Practitioner、家庭医/一般医)に行ってきた。こちらの国営医療サービス(NHS: National Health Service)は無料で有り難いんだけれど、何事にも忍耐が必要だ。私のGPの予約は通常、約1週間先。今回は女医の方をとお願いしたら、なんと2週間待ち。ちなみに2008年10月の調査によると、誰もが2営業日以内にGPの診療を受けられるという目標を達成したGPは、たったの31%だったそうだ。1週間以内にたいてい快復するので、今はよっぽどのことでない限りGPには行かない。軽い症状の場合は、NHS Directの電話サービスに電話したりするのだが、これもあまり使えない。電話でこちらの容態を伝えた後、看護婦が電話をかけ直してくるシステムなのだが、すぐにはかかってこない。先日電話した際は、豚インフルエンザの影響からか、かかって来たのは4時間後だった。しかも、アドバイスは大したことはなく、蜂蜜をお湯に溶かして飲みなさいとか、咳がひどい時は横向きに寝なさいとか、おばあちゃんの知恵袋以上のことは言ってくれない。これなら自分でネットサーチした方が、よっぽど有益だわ。緊急の場合は、A&E(Accident & Emergency、救急病棟)かWalk-in Clinic(軽い怪我、軽症を治療する予約不要の診療所)、Minor Injuries units(MIUs、軽傷を治療する診療所)に行くというチョイスもある。しかし数が少なく近所にないので、はるばる出かけないといけない。したがって、私たちにとっては、これもよっぽどの際の選択肢だ。しかも、A&Eの待ち時間は、悪名高い日本の大学病院の待ち時間以上に長いこともある。A&Eの達成目標は待ち時間4時間以内。2004年の記事ではイングランドの96%のA&Eが達成したそうけれど、4時間待ちって、健康な人でもかなり辛いのでは??



I went to see my GP (General Practitioner) yesterday, one year after my last visit. It is great that UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is free, but you need a great patience for everything. Normally I have to wait about a week to see my GP with my surgery. As I requested a female doctor this time, it took even longer for 2 weeks!! According to the Guardian, in 2008 only 31% of practices met the target that every patient should be able to see a GP within two working days. I usually recover before the appointment day, so I rarely go to the surgery because it is no point to go. If my problem is not serious, I call up NHS Direct telephone service sometimes, but it is not much help either. The system is that you call and leave your details, and the nurse in charge call us back later, but they don’t ring you right away. Last time I called them few weeks ago, I got a phone call after 4 hours, due to the swine flu chaos. Their advise is not so much better than the grandmother’s wisdom, such as drinking hot water with honey or lie down on your side when you have a cough, sort of thing. It’s much faster to search myself online!! If it is an emergency, there are three choices: A&E (Accident & Emergency), Walk-in Clinic or Minor Injuries units (MIUs). However, there are not many of those around us and we have to go all the way there when we are sick/injured – therefore only for a special occasion for us as well. The target waiting time for A&E is within 4 hours. 96% of A&E in England achieved the target in 2004, according to BBC, but isn’t it exhausting even for healthy person to sit on your butt for 4 hours??

In UK, you cannot go any doctors or specialists of your choice, unless you see the GP you registered first. GPs usually know only basics (less than basic sometimes), and you need to obtain a referral letter from your GP to take tests or to receive a treatment – but this process also takes time. First a GP has to fill out the form, to send a fax to the hospital, to receive a correspondence within 2 weeks, and then to set up the appointment. It took 3 months since the phone call to make the appointment, when I took allergy tests (waiting time varies based your problem and the area you live).  I was told take a certain test this time – I am wondering when it will be. Let’s see. According to NHS website, NHS had met its “18 weeks” waiting time target, whereby patients referred from a GP for further treatment start that treatment within 18 weeks. The average wait for treatment for patients admitted to hospital is 8.6 weeks, and 4.6 weeks for out-patients, as of January 2009. It is supposed to be the shortest in their record, but is it the number they can proud of??

I really believe that British are very patient. Queueing is one of their national hobby. ATM, supermarket, post office, train ticket machines etc. – patiently and orderly waiting on a line without complaining is one of the typical British traits. Or is it a NHS conspiracy to irritate people so that more people get private medical insurance and therefore suppress the NHS medical cost (12.5% of the UK population has private medical insurance policies in 2007) ??

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