It's the middle of the night, you don't feel right and there are no doctors about. You kinda know that you don't need A&E but you want someone to tell you that.
Your kid is hot, crying and has a rash. Should you worry?
You are puking your guts out, green bile and empty air that your stomach wants to heave out. But you need to breastfeed. Is it safe?
You have had your tonsils out, your throat hurts like nothing you have ever experienced but on release from hospital you were told to expect this. You want to make sure.
These are all scenarios that we have faced in the last few years. Ones that didn't have us running off to A&E or to the local Grabadoc (which is a great service). However, we wanted someone to tell us it was OK or to give us some advise. Someone with years of training and experience. A doctor preferably or a nurse.
That 's what you get when you ring NHS Direct. Some sensible advice and sometimes that means a trip to the hospital, other times it eases the mind and lets you know that contrary to how you feel, you are not actually dying.
That's why we won't use the 111 service where nurses will be replaced by "trained adviser" who are probably reading out of a manual. I want to know that the person I'm speaking to is a professional with some proper training. If I wanted a manual, I'd just reach for a book or google.
I wonder how many people will start going to A&E depts or their doctors when this service rolls out.