Advantages Informative advice, good reference source.
Disadvantages Definately not for use in an emergency.
From personal experience ,working in a busy GP surgery ,I have come across patients who just don’t have a clue what is the best option to take when illness or accidents occur.
On one hand, there is the person who insists on being seen straight away with the slightest ailment. In contrast to this there are people who ignore potentially life threatening symptoms because they don’t want to be a nuisance or, quite commonly, are scared to take the time off work.
The home page has links to all the different sections and lists “Hot Topics” which are items discussed in the news at the moment. Topics listed recently have been the threatened flu pandemic, MMR/ autism concerns and an explanation of MRSA.Here is a summary of what you can expect to find on the site;-
HEALTH ENQUIRY QUESTIONNAIRE
This is quite a lengthy process and must not be considered for urgent queries.
After filling in quite an intrusive questionnaire ( not recommended when you’re feeling unwell) you can send a health query which will be answered by a Health Information Professional, by email, within 5 days!
You will be informed that they do not diagnose and will only comment on named conditions. The service should not be used for counselling or a second opinion.
The Health Care Professionals are bound by the rules of confidentiality but they cannot guarantee the security of the internet. The information given will be stored securely for a period of 5 years.
I’m not too keen on this idea and would recommend that anyone worried about a symptom or illness should perhaps use the NHS Direct Helpline, (tel no 0845 4647, calls are charged at local rate) .Here you can discuss problems by telephone with a much more personal approach. I personally would be a little disheartened if, after waiting 5 days for a reply, I was told to see my GP, which I suspect is what happens in most cases.
Assuming that you know what your condition is, the Best Treatment section is a helpful guide to make sure that you are being given all the correct help you need.
It aims to inform the patient of the correct drugs and any side effects caused by the medication.
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