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Dial-a-doc is 'old news'

22nd November 2006

A new premium rate telephone service has been launched, which allows customers to call a doctor directly around the clock.

Talk to a Doctor aims to modernise medical support by utilising up-to-date information technology, telephone systems and incorporates the internet into its service.

However, the General Medical Council (GMC) has said that such a service has already been run under the guise of NHS Direct.

"Doctors do this all the time with NHS direct, don't they? So it's already been tried and tested, as it were," said a spokesperson for the GMC.

He added that the council would not have a problem with the reliability or efficacy of the service as long as procedures and guidelines already laid down were followed.

"As long as doctors are following our guidance in terms of the standards we expect of them and as long as they feel they can meet those standards over the phone rather than at a face-to-face meeting then fine."

NHS Direct has recently undergone downsizing with a budget cut of £15 million and the subsequent loss of nearly 800 posts, announced in May.