NHS Direct wants to cancel 111 service contract

Extract BBC News

A major provider of the NHS non-emergency telephone service in England is seeking to pull out of its contracts due to severe problems.

NHS Direct initially won 11 of the 46 regional contracts for the service, covering 34% of the population. It has already pulled out of two services, but now says the remaining nine are “financially unsustainable”.

News selection from the BMJ

BMJ 2013;346:f3129 (Published 16 May 2013)

BMJ 2013;346:f3114 (Published 14 May 2013)


BMJ 2013;346:f2716 (Published 14 May 2013)

111 NOT 999 for non emergencies

 “CALL 111, when it’s less urgent than 999”

This is the introduction of a FREE nationwide telephone number to deal with less urgent requests for medical advice, appointments and health issues.  111 should generally be used for minor injury or illness that requires medical attention but is not an emergency.

NHS Direct have won the contract to provide 111 in the Cheshire and Merseyside area.  There will be a “soft launch” on 21 March 2013 when the number will go live, and a full public launch will take place on 11 April 2013.


The aim of the new telephone service is to provide one simple number to dial with immediate direction to the required service and / or immediate relevant health advice.


For more information on this service click here.

NHS 111 service delayed

The government has announced a delay in the rollout of the NHS 111 number in England.

The free one-stop number for patients with urgent, but not life-threatening symptoms, was planned for April 2013. But now the Department of Health has said areas can have more time to introduce the service.

Doctors’ leaders – who had in the past expressed “serious concerns” about the rollout – welcomed the delay. Nursing leaders and Unison had also expressed reservations about plans for the service.

Extract from BBC News June 14