Update from West Midlands regional team on NHS 111
We have been working with NHS Direct, NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority over the past few months to identify and agree suitable providers to support the transition of NHS111 and to strengthen the service for patients whilst we look for a long term model.
NHS 111 remains a statutory requirement for each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide to their patients. Where it is woking well, the benefits of the urgent care system are really being highlighted including in the North East where the service is going from strength to strength.
The system is working well within the West Midlands, calls are currently being answered in the required timeframe, and there have been no significant increases in attendances at Accident & Emergency or in ambulance despatches.
We have experienced providers within the West Midlands with safe and robust systems in place, who will be ready to take on NHS 111 on an interim basis until long term models are procured. Their call handling staff are suitably trained and ready to step in and take on the service from early October, to meet patients’ needs and expectations.
We would like to assure you that our priority is to bolster the urgent care system as we approach the busy winter period, and that we see NHS111 as crucial support to this system. We are making sure that these plans are in place by 1 October to support our local urgent care systems and to support busy Accident & Emergency Departments and 999 services.
The NHS111 service model is supported by the West Midlands NHS 111 Project Board and Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG as Lead Commissioner; it provides crucial support to the Urgent Care System and we are all committed to the future of the NHS111 service within the West Midlands.
Who is currently managing NHS 111 locally?
Until discussions with the interim providers are finalised; in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin out of hours calls to 111 are still being diverted to Shropdoc. The very small number of day time calls to 111 are being managed by the NHS 111 service in Dudley. We would like to thank Shropdoc for continuing to provide this service.
We will let you know as soon as we can what the interim NHS 111 arrangements will be for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin once NHS Direct steps down.
NHS Direct phone number in England to be switched off
As previously communicated, NHS 111 will replace the 0845 46 47 NHS Direct phone number across England.
It has now been agreed, that this number will be switched off from 5 August for the Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin area. This is part of a programme across the West Midlands.
Hopefully, most NHS Direct materials have already been removed. However, please can you do a review of your answer phones, websites and promotional literature to ensure you have no references to the NHS Direct number for England.
If you need to direct patients elsewhere they should be encouraged to contact their GP practice in the first instance or alternatively call NHS 111. Patients can also be referred to Shropdoc on 08444 06 88 88 for out of hours.
If patients registered with English GP practices do ring the old NHS Direct number, they will either be transferred to NHS 111 or will receive a message advising them to call NHS 111.
Please note for patients registered with a Welsh GP practice, they will still be able to access NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 as NHS 111 is not being rolled out in Wales at the present time.
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