NHS Expert Systems are terminals provided for public use in health centres, intended to reduce the workload on GPs and other NHS staff. The system is also available online via an 0800 number.
The NHDO was commissioned by the English government in 1993 to develop a system accessible to the average member of the public with a health complaint. It is designed to be accessible to the disabled and illiterate through such measures as touchscreens, voice output and graphics, and is also able to perform tasks such as measure peak expiratory flow, blood pressure, pulse rate and take urine and blood samples and analyse them. If an unclear diagnosis emerges, there is a strong possibility of there being a serious complaint or drugs open to abuse need to be prescribed, the system will alert a doctor. At the end of the consultation, the device will issue printed or recorded advice along with prescriptions, and there is also a braille option. A "vending machine" also dispenses many prescriptions. Sick notes can also be issued.
The online version is less sophisticated although in some circumstances diagnostic equipment can be provided for sufferers of chronic illness or disability.
On occasions, the system has dispensed Consolamentum to suicidal or terminally ill patients, which has led to the loss of valuable transplant organs due to them dying in unsupervised circumstances. It has also been claimed that the lack of human contact reduces the placebo effect of medication and is not suitable for some people with mental health problems, which has led to allegations that suicide rates have increased, again meaning that transplant organs are lost to the NHS. However, it has also reduced NHS expenditure considerably, means that fewer GPs and nurses need to be employed and has enabled the practitioners who are still employed to spend more time on each appointment.
Similar systems exist in the other British nations.