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NHS SCHEME FLOPS.

Byline: JAMES TAIT

A FLAGSHIP out-of-hours health service has been branded a flop.

Health watchdogs complained yesterday that the Aberdeen-based pilot NHS 24 scheme has failed to impress the public.

The service - designed to take the pressure off the local out- of-hours GP service and A&E unit - was launched three months ago.

It employs 85 nurses and about 40 other staff offering round the clock advice to callers.

But Grampian Local Health Council spokeswoman Maggie Emslie said: "Patients with minor ailments are clogging up the A&E unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

"How many people out there know that NHS 24 is there?"

But a spokeswoman said the service is hitting its target of 2,000 calls a week.

She added: "NHS 24 is no secret service and the next stage of our launch will take place next month."
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 17, 2002
Words:140
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