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Labour: Draft in ex-nurses to ease NHS burden

Labour would draft in former nurses to help ease the burden on accident and emergency departments, Ed Miliband has said.

GPs could also be installed in hospitals to cool pressure on the straining service, the Labour leader added.

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Too many 111 referrals to A&E 'a huge problem'

Health experts have warned that non-medically trained call handlers on the NHS 111 helpline are sending too many patients to A&E.

Under the 111 system call handlers ask patients questions based on computer algorithms, but care leaders have warned that handlers are disproportionately recommending patients go to A&E because of a lack of other services.

Accident and Emergency departments have been inundated this winter. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The Times reported that 111 sends 50% more callers to A&E on weekends when GP surgeries are shut.

Suzanne Mason, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Sheffield, told the paper the number of patients sent to A&E at the weekend by 111 is a "huge problem" and that parts of the country had been "brought to their knees" by it.

She said: "There are certain times of day and days of the week when call handlers get to the bottom of the algorithm and look at what services are available locally and there isn't anything there."

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