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New NHS Hotline Put On Hold

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5:45pm 14th June 2013

A new hotline to replace NHS Direct is put on hold in Cornwall.

111 was being rolled out across the country to take pressure of emergency services.

But there have been concerns about long waits and confusing advice.

Now Duchy bosses say it will not be brought in until the time is right.

Health campaigner Marna Blundy agrees: "At the moment it is better the devil you know than the devil you don't. But I think in the longer term we've got to look at how we deal with everything and I personally am of the opinion that sooner or later we have to go back to a more local and a more personal service.

"We need to have a big review of all out of hours provision. The public don't really know where to turn, particularly out of hours. There are so many choices and it's very difficult for people to know which direction to be going in and I'm not at all convinced that 111 has all the answers."

Dr Andy Heyward leads the project on the Duchy and says it is still the preferred option: "We are now going through a process of learning from all the other areas because there were a lot of issues raised and we wish to make sure when we launch the service completely we don't have the problems that have been experienced up country.

"We're wanting to try and make sure that when people call in Cornwall, the idea is that you have a seamless service. You call, you speak to a trained call handler and then often you are passed straight through to the clinician or the out of hours service."

5:45pm 14th June 2013

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