Hotline not easing pressure on EDs

The Federal Government's $226 million after-hours nurse and GP hotline is not reducing pressure on emergency departments, and may be having the opposite effect, emergency doctors claim.

In 2006, the government pledged more than $170 million over five years on a national health call centre, Healthdirect Australia, to be run by nurses who would give free triage advice.

Last year the service was extended to include GP support through the after-hours GP helpline, at a cost of $50 million over three years.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek last