The Department of Health today announced that in a bid to make the NHS’s non-emergency helpline financially viable, the 111 service is to be restricted to people who are ‘fit as fiddles’.
‘Ill people have the unfortunate effect of clogging up the health system, and they can really bring down the people in the call centre with their constant winging,’ said a Government spokesman. ‘Excluding them will reduce costs and raise staff morale.’
All calls to the 111 helpline will now begin with a pre-recorded message asking the caller ‘Are you ill? If so, hang up now and call someone who cares’.
Senior executives at NHS Direct, the company which has had to pull out of its contract for running the 111 service, reported its difficulties by calling 222, the Government’s new emergency helpline for failing providers of outsourced services.