London, May 17th 2013 — Doctors, nurses, consultants and pharmacists in the UK have delivered a resounding vote of no confidence in the new NHS 111 service on Twitter, according to a new study by Creation Healthcare.
NHS 111 is for people who need urgent medical help, but where the situation is not life threatening. 1 The service was initially piloted in four geographical areas 1 before being launched in a limited number of regions in March 2013. Since then, it has been the subject of much discussion in the news and social media.
Using Creation Pinpoint®, researchers monitored more than 20,000 tweets in the first 17 days of May alone. Analysis was carried out on 857 tweets sent by 257 healthcare professionals who between them have more than half a million followers.
The research showed that doctors used Twitter to vent their anger and share stories of failures and reach out to policymakers. @bendean1979, a doctor based in Oxford tweeted to @Jeremy_Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, saying: “you need to scrap the rubbish 111… and invest in a brain,” prompting a response from Emma, a nurse: “111 has been a farce….”
Some doctors offered views on how the service could be improved. “Urgent NHS call handling of 111 is risky & needs clear, enforced quality standards. Can’t just feed it to the market and hope for the best,” tweets @drphilhammond, a hospital doctor, prompting ten retweets and responses.
The negative sentiment extended to future doctors, too: “Hearing about so many disgusting 111 failures already. #SaveOurNHS” tweeted @mtvpaul, a medical student in Brighton, stimulating a more detailed live discussion.
“Patient told me he phoned because of urinary symptoms – was on for 20mins while they asked if he wanted to slit his throat/wrists“, replied @CrashCall, a medical student in London.
A major topic amongst healthcare professionals was the anger at the effects of privatisation of NHS services: “this is what happens when you replace professionals with non profs,” says @cheekynurse11, a nurse, linking to a BBC news article and stimulating a lengthy discussion and 41 retweets.
NHS Direct (@nhsdirect) showed they wanted to engage in the conversation replying to a frustrated patient: “Early days for 111 so your feedback is important.”
Creation Healthcare is the research and training consultancy to the healthcare industry for the digital age, advising the world’s largest pharmaceutical and healthcare organisations. Established in 1998, the company has been at the forefront of innovation in healthcare engagement for sixteen years with a global consultant team spanning 20 countries. Creation Healthcare’s headquarters are in London, United Kingdom. www.creationhealthcare.com.