Some hospitals have already issued messaging urging sufferers to not flip up at accident and emergency (A&E), until they’re dealing with a “critical emergency”.
Telling sufferers to not go to A&E “until it’s completely crucial” is barely doable if GPs and NHS 111 “have the capability and the sources to satisfy the calls for that this locations on them”, Ms Hughes stated.
“Important delays in receiving a response are probably missed alternatives for sufferers to obtain well timed medical recommendation and remedy that will forestall future hurt,” she added.
“Delays in receiving well timed care and remedy will inevitably end in avoidable hurt to sufferers.”
A ‘catastrophic drawback’
Dr Fay Wilson, member of the British Medical Affiliation’s GP committee and an pressing care centre supervisor within the West Midlands, stated the system outage was a “catastrophic drawback”.
“All the things takes longer, every little thing is slower, so the waits are longer,” she stated. “And the nervousness is that you could’t spot the individuals who need assistance shortly.”
Requested how sufferers ought to put together for the financial institution vacation weekend she recommended they need to “suppose forward” and put together.
“I might say, be affected person, if you happen to can wait till your physician surgical procedure is open after the financial institution vacation, please do,” she stated.
“Earlier than we get to the financial institution vacation, please suppose ‘Is there something you’re going to wish’ and organise, for example, repeat prescriptions.”
However she warned sufferers who’re “critically sick” ought to go to A&E, whereas those that are not sure what assist they want ought to strive their native pharmacy.
An NHS spokesman stated: “The NHS message has not modified all through and it’s important that the general public proceed to make use of providers within the normal manner via 111 on-line and calling 999 in an emergency.”
‘Extra harmful than environment friendly’
Dr Anita Raja, a GP in Birmingham, stated the Adastra outage has meant “you are simply blindly working towards medication” with out the sufferers’ medical historical past.
“You can not see sufferers with out understanding what their previous medical historical past is, what medicines they’re on,” she stated, and warned it’s placing her “licence as a health care provider” in danger in addition to the affected person. “I believe it’s extra harmful than inefficient,” she stated.
Dr Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal School of GPs, stated GPs and healthcare employees have gone “above and past” in current weeks in mild of the “difficult circumstances” with the 111 outage.
“That some colleagues working out-of-hours are nonetheless dealing with difficulties doing their jobs correctly, notably by way of not getting access to crucial medical data and that that is impacting on the care they can present to sufferers, is regarding and must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” he stated.
Dr Selvaseelan Selvarajah, an out-of-hours GP in east London, stated he would sometimes see a affected person each quarter-hour via 111, however now he’s seeing only one or two an hour.
One other GP, primarily based in Newbury, Berkshire, stated she was solely seeing three sufferers in a six-hour shift, in comparison with 4 an hour, as a result of outage.
“That’s an enormous drop [and] I’m undecided what’s occurring to these sufferers,” Dr Selvarajah stated.
NHS 111 shouldn’t be an “unsafe service”, he stated, however added: “I believe it’s an inefficient manner of working pressing care”.
Superior, the British agency which provides the Adastra software program, confirmed on Tuesday that the system was now up and working once more for the London and South Central Ambulance Companies.
It’s understood the agency might be reconnecting providers to the platform on a rolling foundation in partnership with NHS England. Within the meantime, name handlers are utilizing different strategies to e-book appointments and situation emergency prescriptions.
An NHS spokesman stated digital data are a “small half” of diagnosing sufferers, and added that “pressing care clinicians affected proceed to make use of tried and examined strategies to offer one of the best care doable”.