NHS 111 service is stable and improving, says NHS England

The NHS 111 service is stable and improving, NHS England said today.

It issued an update on the organisations that are to replace NHS Direct, currently one of the providers of NHS 111 services.

NHS Direct has had some difficulties in providing these services and decided in agreement with NHS England that it would withdraw from the market.  The NHS 111 service in England is divided into 44 areas, nine of which are currently provided by NHS Direct.

NHS England has worked with clinical commissioning groups, the NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS Direct to oversee the smooth transfers of NHS 111 contracts from NHS Direct to interim providers.

NHS England has overseen arrangements to transfer 111 services currently provided by NHS Direct to a range of providers, predominantly ambulance trusts. Their experience in providing 999 will be invaluable in delivering high quality NHS 111 services to the public.  The transfers will be taking place over the coming weeks.

The current areas covered by NHS Direct contracts are: Buckinghamshire, East London and the City, South East London, Sutton and Merton, West Midlands, Lancashire and Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire and Somerset

Details of the lead providers who these contracts will transfer to, are as follows:

Area Interim NHS 111 Provider
North West (including Lancashire and Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire) North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust
West Midlands West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust with Harmoni providing the service for the  Worcester area and Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care Ltd
London (including , East London and the City, South East London, Sutton and Merton) We are close to finalising arrangements for this area, details will be announced soon
Somerset South West Ambulance  Service NHS Trust
Buckinghamshire We are close to finalising arrangements for this area, details will be announced soon

The latest data shows significant improvement in the NHS 111 service compared with period just after it launched in April this year.  .

Calls are now answered promptly, with 94.1 percent of callers answered within 60 seconds.  Of all calls, only 0.5 percent are abandoned .  In a recent survey some 92 percent of callers said they were satisfied with the service.

Coverage is also set to improve.  In all, 93 percent of the population now has a NHS 111 service and just four areas are not covered. These are: Cambridge and Peterborough, North Essex, Bedfordshire and Luton and Cornwall.

Providers have been identified for all of these areas and services will go live by February 2014. In the meantime NHS Direct will continue to provide a service on the 0845 4647 number.. If the public do call 111 they will re-directed to 08454647.

NHS Direct provides services other than 111, and appropriate arrangements will be made for all of these.

Dame Barbara Hakin, Deputy Chief Executive at NHS England, said:

“NHS 111 is now a stable and improving service and we are confident it will continue to get better.  It is no secret that we had a tough start.

“But I have been impressed by the way that the staff providing these services across the country have turned the situation around on behalf of the public.

”Now NHS 111 provides a good service with high levels of public satisfaction.  Calls are answered promptly and more people are getting access to the service as we move to full coverage in February 2014.

“I am confident, and the public should be too, that these new providers of NHS 111 will be able to deliver a smooth transfer and a high quality, reliable 111 service.  The public should not feel any detrimental effects..
“NHS 111 is now going from strength to strength and we are determined to keep that improvement on track.”