Hambro Assistance has launched a major two-pronged attack to provide triage helplines for the private and NHS health sectors.
The Colchester-based company has just won its first contract to provide triage telephone assistance for a private medical provider, believed to be a friendly society. Spokesman Alex Wise said details were still being finalised, with the service expected to go live in October.
Hambro Assistance is also to launch a pilot service, run with a GP co-operative based in the Midlands, to handle out of hours and emergency calls. Wise said this would help the Government see the value of triage services.
The Government has yet to link up with a private provider for its NHS 2000 pilot project which is aimed at providing the public with telephone-based health information.
Triage is a service run by nurses which can be used by the GP using public or private health policyholders. It involves a nurse assessing a patient’s condition and can prevent unnecessary visits to GPs or accident and emergency units.
In the US, triage is standard practice and has been shown to bring massive savings in time and money. A survey taken at a triage call centre in Phoenix, Arizona showed 62% of callers requesting emergency care could be directed to an appropriate lower level of care at reduced costs.