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NHS 111 commissioners given official support


30 July 2013

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NHS England has pledged to support commissioners while alternate providers are found for non-emergency helpline NHS 111. 
NHS Direct announced yesterday that the service is “financially unstable” and that they will be unable to deliver the service. 
However, callers to 111 in the nine areas currently served by NHS Direct will continue to receive a safe service, the company said. 

NHS England has pledged to support commissioners while alternate providers are found for non-emergency helpline NHS 111. 
NHS Direct announced yesterday that the service is “financially unstable” and that they will be unable to deliver the service. 
However, callers to 111 in the nine areas currently served by NHS Direct will continue to receive a safe service, the company said. 
NHS England has been in talks with NHS Direct “for some time” over how they will pull out from the service, it has been revealed. 
According to Dame Barbara Hakin, NHS England’s deputy chief executive, the contracts will come to a planned and managed end throughout 2013/14. 
She said: “We are working closely with the Trust Development Authority and the Board of NHS Direct to ensure that NHS Direct continues to provide a safe, high quality service to patients while alternative, long-term providers are secured.
“The public should not feel any detrimental effects of changes in the providers of the service.” 
However, healthcare leaders said that the decision to pull out will cause “chaos”, certainly affecting local patients. 
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association’s (BMAs) GP Committee said: “The decision by NHS Direct to seek a withdrawal from its contracts to provide NHS 111 reveals worrying flaws not just with the tendering process for NHS 111 contracts, but for how contracts are awarded and monitored throughout the NHS.” 
Nick Chapman, NHS Direct chief executive said: "We will continue to provide a safe and reliable NHS 111 service to our patients until alternative arrangements can be made by commissioners.
“Whatever the outcome of the discussions on the future, patients will remain the central focus of our efforts, together with protecting our staff who work on NHS 111 to ensure that the service will continue to benefit from their skills and experience.” 
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