Ambulance Service to step back from 111 contract

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West Midlands Ambulance Service is to hand back the 111 contract it provides for the majority of the West Midlands to commissioners.

The Trust has taken the difficult decision as the service develops nationally and becomes an even more important part of the NHS.

Part of this development will involve a move towards closer working between the NHS 111 service across the East and West Midlands integrating the two areas into a single shared model, which mirrors the increasing collaboration across some other regions in England.

NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, after a competitive process, have awarded the contract to DHU Healthcare for an initial 18-month period. DHU already operate the East Midlands contract, are rated ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC and are a not for profit, social enterprise and community interest company. West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said:

“As the focus of our emergency and urgent service is based on the West Midlands only, and the move in 111 is to move to a regional basis, it makes sense to step back and allow a new 111 provider to take the service to the next level. 

“What is important is that patients will not see any change in the way they access NHS 111 across the East and West Midlands.

“As a Trust we will also be able to concentrate on making the improvements necessary to improve our 999 service.  As such, we feel a new 111 provider will be able to embed the changes in telephony that are set to be introduced which will allow the 111 service to develop further.

Stephen Bateman, Chief Executive at DHU added: “Our 111 service has a well-deserved outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission, and we look forward to a close partnership with West Midlands Ambulance Service to transition this contract.

"Our intention is to build on the exceptional service they have grown over the last three years, and to support the staff who join us.  We know they deliver compassionate, high-quality patient care and we welcome the knowledge, skills and experience they will bring to our DHU family.”


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