Barriers and facilitators to using NHS Direct: a qualitative study of 'users' and 'non-users'

Cook, Erica J.; Randhawa, Gurch; Large, Shirley; Guppy, Andy; Chater, Angel M.; Ali, Nasreen
November 2014
BMC Health Services Research;2014, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p45
Academic Journal
Background NHS Direct, introduced in 1998, has provided 24/7 telephone-based healthcare advice and information to the public in England and Wales. National studies have suggested variation in the uptake of this service amongst the UK's diverse population. This study provides the first exploration of the barriers and facilitators that impact upon the uptake of this service from the perspectives of both 'users' and 'non- users'. Methods Focus groups were held with NHS Direct 'users' (N = 2) from Bedfordshire alongside 'non-users' from Manchester (N = 3) and Mendip, Somerset (N = 4). Each focus group had between five to eight participants. A total of eighty one people aged between 21 and 94 years old (M: 58.90, SD: 22.70) took part in this research. Each focus group discussion lasted approximately 90 minutes and was audiotape-recorded with participants' permission. The recordings were transcribed verbatim. A framework approach was used to analyse the transcripts. Results The findings from this research uncovered a range of barriers and facilitators that impact upon the uptake of NHS Direct. 'Non-users' were unaware of the range of services that NHS Direct provided. Furthermore, 'non-users' highlighted a preference for face-to face communication, identifying a lack of confidence in discussing healthcare over the telephone. This was particularly evident among older people with cognitive difficulties. The cost to telephone a '0845' number from a mobile was also viewed to be a barrier to access NHS Direct, expressed more often by 'non-users' from deprived communities. NHS Direct 'users' identified that awareness, ease of use and convenience were facilitators which influenced their decision to use the service. Conclusions An understanding of the barriers and facilitators which impact on the access and uptake of telephone-based healthcare is essential to move patients towards the self-care model. This research has highlighted the need for telephone-based healthcare services to increase public awareness; through the delivery of more targeted advertising to promote the service provision available.


Related Articles

  • Healthcare workers' attitudes towards working during pandemic influenza: a multi method study. Draper, Heather; Wilson, Sue; Ives, Jonathan; Gratus, Christine; Greenfield, Sheila; Parry, Jayne; Petts, Judith; Sorell, Tom // BMC Public Health;2008, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p192 

    Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) will be key players in any response to pandemic influenza, and will be in the front line of exposure to infection. Responding effectively to a pandemic relies on the majority of medical, nursing, laboratory and hotel services staff continuing to work...

  • Health watchdog criticises NHS helpline. Mayor, Susan // BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);08/12/2000, Vol. 321 Issue 7258, p401 

    Reports on the results of consumer research regarding the consistency of medical advice provided by England's National Health Service (NHS) Direct telephone helpline. Details of calls made by researchers posing as patients with various medical conditions; Analysis of calls made to NHS Direct;...

  • Asthma telephone triage cuts NHS costs.  // Pulse;9/23/2005, Vol. 65 Issue 37, p10 

    Reports that telephone triage of asthma patients can increase the number of patients reviewed while reducing the National Health Service costs, according to the research conducted by general practitioner Kevin Gruffydd-Jones in Great Britain. Cost involved in the treatment of standard clinic arm...

  • What reasons do those with practical experience use in deciding on priorities for healthcare resources? A qualitative study. Hasman, A.; Mcintosh, E.; Hope, T. // Journal of Medical Ethics;Sep2008, Vol. 34 Issue 9, p658 

    Background: Priority setting is necessary in current healthcare services. 0iscussion of fair process has highlighted the value of developing reasons for allocation decisions on the basis of experience gained from real cases. Aim: To identify the reasons that those with experience of real...

  • Win some, lose some. Wells, Belinda // Healthcare Counselling & Psychotherapy Journal;Apr2007, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p17 

    The article narrates the author's personal and professional experiences on the process of tendering for commissioned counseling services, with the challenges posed by a changing National Health Service in 2006 in Great Britain. In April 2006, the author was managing two psychological therapy...

  • Topics in training. Rosoman, Jane // Healthcare Counselling & Psychotherapy Journal;Apr2007, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p30 

    The article presents the author's comments on the need of health counselors for continuing professional development to cope with the new Great Britain National Health Service. The author says that in the 21st century, counselors are working in managed services defined by a context that is always...

  • Quality through the CORE: providing therapy and support services for NHS staff in Kent. Prior, Jan // Healthcare Counselling & Psychotherapy Journal;Apr2007, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p36 

    The article presents information on the provision of counseling services for staff in the rapidly changing Great Britain National Health Service (NHS). There has been a rapid expansion of workplace counseling services within the NHS. Five essential minimum functions required for a quality...

  • FHCP update. Seber, Pat; Robinson, Louise // Healthcare Counselling & Psychotherapy Journal;Oct2007, Vol. 7 Issue 4, p40 

    The article presents information about the healthcare activities carried out by the organization Faculty for Healthcare Counsellors and Psychotherapists (FHCP) in Great Britain. The FHCP is engaged in a range of national NHS initiatives and working parties that are predicted to shape the future...

  • Getting funding for research.  // Healthcare Counselling & Psychotherapy Journal;Oct2004, Vol. 4 Issue 4, p9 

    The article reports on sources of funding outside primary care in various primary care research networks and organizations. It reveals that British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy's Research Development Manager Stephen Goss gives information about how to structure funding...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics