Headlines: March 26th, 1999

When a health problem arises six out of ten people don’ t know what to do about it.
This is the finding from a survey by Sheffield University of users of the telephone helpline NHS Direct. The survey found that 40% of people took less urgent action than they intended to do before calling the helpline. Most of these people were given advice on how to look after themselves at home. In 20% of cases callers were advised to take more urgent action than they had intended to do.

NHS Direct has been well received by its users with 97% saying that they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the service that they received. The service is being progressively extended. It will cover 60% of the country by the end of this year and the whole of the UK by the end of 2000.