HEALTH care providers have joined forces to offer a new non-emergency phone number.
Health chiefs announced yesterday that 111– which is due to be up and running in March 2013 – will be jointly provided by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Local Care Direct.
The aim is to make it easier for the public to access healthcare services when they need medical help fast, but it’s not a life-threatening situation.
NHS 111 will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. People should use the NHS 111 service if they urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation.
The contract will also include out-of-hours urgent treatment services for residents of West Yorkshire and Craven.
Senior Responsible Officer for NHS 111 Programme Board for Yorkshire Mike Potts said: “I am delighted that after an open competitive process Yorkshire Ambulance Service, in partnership with out-of-hours provider Local care Direct, has been identified as the preferred provider.
“Both organisations bring a wealth of local knowledge and experience of running emergency and urgent care services.”
Mr Potts, who is the Chief Executive of NHS Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, the primary care provider in our area continued: “I look forward to working with them as we plan to launch the new service for the people of Yorkshire and the Humber in March 2013.”
David Whiting, CEO of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as the preferred bidder for the region-wide NHS 111 and West Yorkshire urgent Care services in partnership with Local Care Direct.
“Our partnership of an ambulance service and out-of-hours provider creates a firm and experienced foundation for safe, effective and integrated patient care.
“We are looking forward to implementing our plans for the services and, working together, we will deliver a high quality and responsive service for patients needing urgent care in Yorkshire and the Humber.”
The 111 number aims to take into account patient’s location and time of day at which they call in order to place them in the hands of the care provider best suited to the incident.
CEO of Local Care Direct Emma Wilson said: “Our partnership will put the interests of patients first.
“Both organisations have teams of incredibly committed and caring people who will be working closely with clinical commissioning groups, local communities and other health and social care providers to ensure the people of West Yorkshire have an urgent care service they can be proud of.”
The partnership contract is due to be signed off.