Telephone triage can improve the use of NHS and practice resources.

Providing longer GP consultations for patients will itself make it less likely that the consultation will end with a referral or a prescription.

Some services that have traditionally taken place in secondary care could be provided in the community, by allowing GPs the time to pursue clinical interests in more detail.

What is unclear, however, is precisely how nurse telephone triage should be introduced.

It is important that all possible options are considered for both daytime and out-of-hours calls, which present different challenges.