£45 million contract to run 111 brings 100 new jobs to the North East

NEAS and Northern Doctors win five year deal

A  £45 million contract to handle non-emergency medical calls in the North East has been awarded to North East Ambulance Service and Northern Doctors Urgent Care Ltd. 

The deal means 100 new jobs at contact centres across the North East.

111 £45 million deal

The 111 service for non-urgent injuries or illnesses runs alongside the emergency 999 service.

Simon Featherstone, Chief Executive of North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are extremely pleased to have been awarded the contract to run 111. It's a significant milestone in fulfilling our mission to ensure that patients in the North East receive the right care in the right place at the right time. 

"This is a testament to the durability and resolve of a dedicated team to bring this to fruition in a way which has widespread clinical acceptance in the North East.

"As the first region in the country to implement NHS 111, we hope that our experiences, with enlightened partners at Connecting for Health, NHS County Durham and Darlington and Northern Doctors Urgent Care, will help benefit others as they seek to roll the service out across the UK." 

John Harrison, Chief Executive of Northern Doctors Urgent Care (NDUC), said: "We are thrilled that our partnership with NEAS has been successful in winning NHS 111 for the North East. 

"As a GP-led out-of-hours provider in the North East, we have 16 years of experience in providing urgent care for 1.5 million patients across the region which will put us in a strong position to ensure we build a resilient NHS 111 service across the North East."

County Durham and Darlington was one of only four areas across the country to initially pilot the NHS 111 service.

Since then, County Durham and Darlington has seen a 14% reduction in the number of calls received by 999, an overall 3% reduction in the number of 999 incidents and a 9% reduction in Accident and Emergency attendances compared to other areas with a similar demographic in the North East. 

Berenice Groves, Programme Director of the NHS 111 Service across the North East said: 'People are often confused by the number and type of healthcare services available to them locally. NHS 111 is designed to simplify this decision making process.

"By encouraging people to talk to us before they set off we aim to ensure patients are re-assured and then directed to those services that are closest to them and which can best meet their healthcare needs."

Minister of State for Health, Simon Burns said: "I'm delighted in the success of this procurement process, and that the whole of the North East region is one step closer to being able to access NHS 111.  I'm also grateful for all the work done by NHS staff in the North East to test NHS 111 over the last eighteen months which has seen improvements in patient care, and a really high level of patient satisfaction."

County Durham and Darlington was one of only four areas across the country to initially pilot the NHS 111 service. Since then, County Durham and Darlington, has seen a 14% reduction in the number of calls received by 999, an overall 3% reduction in the number of 999 incidents and a 9% reduction in Accident and Emergency attendances compared to other areas with a similar demographic in the North East. 

To date the NHS 111 service has answered over 200,000 calls. As a result 42% of callers were given a booked appointment at their local Urgent Care Centre or directed to their own GP, 11% of calls resulted in an immediate ambulance response and 6% of callers were directed to their nearest A & E deaprtment.

Feedback from patients also shows that there were no delays in the provision of care and that patient experience was improved through quicker access to the most appropriate local services.

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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