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Ambulance service to be drafted in for 111 cover
6:00am Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
HEALTH bosses are likely to call on the North West Ambulance Service for help stabilising the 111 phoneline with a new provider not expected to take over until summer 2014.
The non-emergency health phone line has been hit with criticism after current provider NHS Direct said the service was ‘financially unsustainable’.
A report prepared for Warrington’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) governing body meeting, which taked place ytoday, Wednesday, said the transitional period to the ambulance service is expected to take place in the autumn.
The report added: “This service is working for Warrington people.
“However, to ensure there is no deterioration in service, initially NHS Direct will work with a ‘stability partner’ (to be announced, but likely to be North West Ambulance Service).
“Also during the autumn, a re-procurement process will begin based on a refreshed service specification and re-negotiated operational ‘footprints’.”
Re-procurement is expected to take six months with a final completion date no later than October 2014.
The predicted costs of finding a new provider are not yet known but the report added: “It’s certain that next year 111 will cost Warrington CCG more than originally predicted’.”
Last week the Warrington Guardian reported triage nurse Nicola McDonough, who had to take redundancy when NHS Direct took over the GP out-of-hours service, said staff knew the system was going to fail.
Despite national criticism, Dr Andy Davies, chairman of Warrington CCG, defended the service saying 111 is ‘saving money for Warrington every day’.
He added since the 111 helpline was introduced, doctors and nurses could now be employed to assess ill people at the primary care urgent care unit with 97 per cent of patients being seen, treated and discharged back home the same day.
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