NHS 111 out-of-hours service could be run by local GPs

Local GP out-of-hours providers could run the NHS 111 hotline that will replace parts of NHS Direct.

Dr Wilson: 'If consortia are going to commission 999 services, there is nothing to say they couldn't commission NHS 111 as well'
Dr Wilson: 'If consortia are going to commission 999 services, there is nothing to say they couldn't commission NHS 111 as well'

The DoH has yet to confirm whether the service will be commissioned nationally like its predecessor.

But out-of-hours providers believe they are best placed to run NHS 111, and that GP consortia could commission it alongside other local services.

Dr Fay Wilson, chairman of Birmingham out-of-hours co-op BADGER, said providing NHS 111 locally 'sits naturally' with out-of-hours.

She pointed to GP out-of-hours providers' involvement in developing the service in the north-east of England as evidence of this. 'I think people providing out-of-hours care are in a good place to do it,' she said.

The results of NHS 111 pilots in NHS County Durham and Darlington, NHS Nottingham City, NHS Luton and NHS Lincolnshire will determine how the service is delivered in future, the DoH has said.

Dr Wilson said: 'The pilots are being run by ambulance services and out-of-hours organisations, which are contracted locally, as well as by NHS Direct. The local options obviously fit with commissioning. If consortia are going to commission 999 services, there is nothing that makes me think they couldn't commission NHS 111 as well.'

Dr David Lloyd, a GP and joint medical director of out-of-hours provider Harmoni, said the firm would be keen to take on NHS 111. 'It would be a good idea if out-of-hours providers have a major role to play,' he said. 'That's the way I hope it goes.'

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said GPs could commission the service if the pilots show it to be cost effective and helpful to patients.

He said: 'It isn't clear yet, but it is a possibility. It depends on what the pilots show.'

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