GP leaders welcome bid to integrate NHS 111 and out-of-hours care

The GPC has welcomed NHS England's move to suspend all 111 and GP out-of-hours procurements in order to develop a new integrated model.

Out-of-hours care: NHS 111 could be integrated with GP out-of-hours services
Out-of-hours care: NHS 111 could be integrated with GP out-of-hours services

NHS England wrote to CCGs and providers last week calling on them to suspend procurements while standards for a new integrated model are developed.

NHS England’s head of urgent and emergency care delivery Nick Hall said: ‘These planned changes to integrate NHS 111 and out-of-hours services will offer patients better access to urgent care 24/7. It builds on what commissioners have been asking for and will not disrupt the running of the NHS 111 services.’

The move follows a review of urgent and emergency care services by NHS England’s medical director Sir Bruce Keogh and the Five Year Forward View which called for a fundamental redesign of the urgent care ‘front door’.

Currently 18 NHS 111 providers hold 48 different contracts while 80 GP out-of-hours providers run over 100 contracts. NHS England expects the numbers of different contracts with providers to reduce as CCGs work together to plans urgent care services strategically. However the number of providers could remain the same.

NHS 111 integration

Commissioners say better integration could mean 111 callers are able to speak to clinicians right away or that appointments are made via the phone service.

GPC executive lead for 111 Dr Charlotte Jones said doctors’ leaders had been raising concerns over the service since before its ‘disastrous’ launch in 2013.

‘While improvements have been made, it is questionable whether NHS 111 has the resources nationally to meet patient demand and whether its call operators have enough training or sufficient support to be able to deal with patients’ health needs.

Dr Jones said: ‘Many GPs and doctors in A&E departments remain sceptical that all the cases being referred to them are appropriate. NHS 111 should be promoting effective, safe care, whether this via a clinician or through self-care, in the right circumstances.'

She added: ‘We are pleased that NHS England has listened to the BMA and will now be reviewing its procurement process, particularly rethinking the separation of the call handling system from GP out-of-hours services. A lot of work still needs to be done, but this is a step in the right direction.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Party manifestos offer 'too little too late' on NHS pension tax crisis

Party manifestos offer 'too little too late' on NHS pension tax crisis

Political parties are offering 'too little too late' in their manifestos over the...

GPs report rising workload linked to record hospital waiting times

GPs report rising workload linked to record hospital waiting times

Eight in 10 GPs say rising waits for NHS hospital treatment have driven up workload...

Viewpoint: 'Why the RCGP should not adopt a neutral stance on assisted dying'

Viewpoint: 'Why the RCGP should not adopt a neutral stance on assisted dying'

The RCGP is currently surveying members for their views on assisted dying. In response...

Hurried GP consultations 'a scandal', RCGP chair warns

Hurried GP consultations 'a scandal', RCGP chair warns

Hurried consultations in general practice are 'a scandal that needs to be named'...

GMC labels overseas GP registration 'unfit for purpose' as British doctor denied work

GMC labels overseas GP registration 'unfit for purpose' as British doctor denied work

The GMC has labelled the system for registering overseas doctors as 'unfit for purpose'...

Which parts of England are facing a GP retirement timebomb?

Which parts of England are facing a GP retirement timebomb?

In parts of England more than 40% of the GP workforce in permanent roles is aged...