NHS Direct in talks with GP consortia

NHS Direct is in talks with a GP consortium about forming a partnership which could see it take over practices' in-hours triage and appointment bookings, GP understands.

A document presented at the NHS Direct board meeting on Monday details NHS Direct's plans to work with a consortium to scope cost savings in the urgent care patient pathway and test ‘potential innovation projects’.

The document said these projects could include in-hours triage and booking system or a NHS 111 pilot.

NHS Direct said it has started discussions about the ‘Hothouse Partnership’ with one consortia already, but did not identify the group.

The move is part of a wider drive by NHS Direct to develop stronger relationships with GP commissioning consortia.

The document said: 'With the changes taking place to the commissioning landscape of the NHS it is clear that relationships with GP commissioning consortia are key to the future of NHS Direct’s services.

‘We need to develop stronger and more constructive relationships with GP commissioning consortia at both national and local levels, to understand their needs and to collaborate on the design and implementation of new services.’

So far, NHS Direct has held meetings or calls with nine consortia, including Northamptonshire, Cambridge – CATCH, Hunts Health and Wyvern Health.

It said it has also 'exploring possible areas of collaboration' with private companies who are supporting GP commissioners.

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