111 rollout delayed15th June 2012
The planned rollout of the NHS 111 number in England has been put back by the government.
The Department of Health’s decision to give some areas an additional six months to implement the free one-stop number for patients with urgent, but not life-threatening symptoms, comes after concerns were raised by doctors and nurses organisations and health unions.
Originally, scheduled for introduction in April 2013, many organisations will now have until October 2013 to bring in the new number, though areas that already have the service will continue to operate it.
Earlier this month NHS 111, which operates in 10 areas around England and was launched in August 2010, recorded its millionth caller.
Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs Committee, welcomed the delay.
He said: “The principle behind NHS 111 - making patient access to urgent NHS services easier - is a good one, unfortunately the speed of the rollout was putting this at risk.
“Hopefully now there will be sufficient time to ensure local clinicians are properly involved so services can be designed that will be safe, reliable and genuinely benefit patients.”
Nick Chapman, chief executive of NHS Direct (which 111 will replace) said, the delay was the right decision as it will allow for greater clinical engagement and ensure the service is the "best it can be for patients".
Health Minister Simon Burns said: “We have agreed to offer, for those areas that need it, an extension of up to six months to the completion date for the national roll-out of NHS 111.”
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Title: 111 rollout delayed
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 22138
Date Added: 15th Jun 2012