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County’s NHS 111 service thrown lifeline
THE county’s NHS 111 service has been thrown a lifeline - that falls just short of a take-up.
Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (HCCG) is in talks with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) over continuing the service after NHS Direct withdrew from the 111 contract for the West Midlands.
WMAS confirmed this week that it had been selected as the “preferred provider” of a future NHS 111 service to the county but stressed that no decision had been made.
David Farnsworth, HCCG executive nurse, said WMAS support to on-going 111 provision was working well.
“We want to bolster the urgent care system as we approach the busy winter period, and we see NHS 111 as a crucial part of that,” he said.
HCCG governors met this week to hear of progress made in stabilising NHS 111 and how support could continue until October next year.
Herefordshire has been identified as one part of the West Midlands NHS area where WMAS could be a partner in providing 24/7 111 cover from a call centre in Dudley.
NHS England, however, has confirmed that there will be no central funding to support CCGs in setting up new and replacement services. Each CCG has been advised that it needs to commit up to the planned contract value of NHS 111 which stands at around £15.3m across the West Midlands.
NHS Direct encountered significant problems when it launched in March this year and withdrew from contracts within months as they proved to be financially unsustainable.
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