The troubled NHS 111 phone service has been thrown into turmoil after one of the main providers, NHS Direct, announced that it was seeking to “withdraw from the contracts it entered into”.
An NHS Direct spokeswoman said the contracts were “financially unsustainable”. The company announced that it was preparing for a “planned withdrawal” from the contracts after projecting a £26m deficit for the coming financial year. NHS Direct provides the non-emergency phone line in nine regions of England. It originally won 11 of the 46 contracts to provide the 111 service.
This month the company announced that it would be unable to provide the service in North Essex and Cornwall. But now it is also planning to stop providing the service in Somerset, Buckinghamshire, east London and the City, south-east London, Sutton and Merton, West Midlands, Lancashire and Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.
A company spokeswoman said: “The trust is seeking to agree a managed transfer of NHS Direct’s 111 services, and the frontline and other staff who currently provide them, to alternative providers. “NHS Direct is seeking to withdraw from the NHS 111 contracts it entered into as these have proved to be financially unsustainable.”
29th July 2013