It has today been announced that the roll-out of the new non-emergency NHS 111 telephone service in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) will now not launch in June as previously planned.
The decision has been made by the three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) responsible for planning and buying many of the health services needed by patients in LLR, and which took over full responsibility from the previous primary care trusts on April 1, 2013.
The service, to be provided by Derbyshire Health United (DHU), was planned to go ‘live’ at the end of June. However, the collective CCGs felt it important to ensure the service was fully fit-for-purpose and met local patients needs before the service launched.
NHS 111 is being launched across England and aims to make it easier for patients to access local NHS services. It is intended for those patients who require urgent medical help or advice but whose condition is not life threatening or a 999 emergency.
NHS England, the body responsible for overseeing the work of CCGs, has been involved in discussions and supports the CCGs’ decision to defer the launch to make sure the new service operates optimally from day one. It is continuing to work alongside the CCGs to ensure that the service meets national requirements.
Dr Avi Prasad, NHS 111 programme in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland said: “Any delay in implementing a new service is disappointing but the safety of patients must always come first.
“We’ve learned lessons from other areas where the service is live and we are working with DHU to ensure that we have a high quality, fit-for-purpose service that properly meets the needs of patients living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The system will only go live in our area when the CCGs are confident that it is ready to do so.”
A decision on a revised launch date will be made in due course. In the meantime discussions are on-going with current NHS Direct and GP out-of-hours services to ensure that patients continue to have appropriate access to services until the new service is launched.