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News : New Operator Takes Over NHS Helpline from Ambulance Service
West Midlands, US, September, 2015 -- A new operator has taken over the NHS non-emergency helpline in the West Midlands.
The NHS 111 service had been run by West Midlands Ambulance Service since 2013.
But earlier this year the ambulance service trust failed in its bid to continue to operate the non-emergency phone line.
Instead, a temporary contract was awarded to the private contractor, West Midlands Doctors Urgent Care, which already runs the 111 phone line in Staffordshire.
The health body has now begun operating the service for the next 12 months.
Union officials had raised concerns over its future after the ambulance service lost out on the contract.
However Dr Jonathan Leach, clinical governance lead for the 111 service, said: "We have ensured that good quality patient care is at the forefront of the delivery of 111.
"We are obviously expecting an increase in calls as we approach winter, and would urge patients to continue to dial 111 should they need health care advice. The call handlers are taking calls as normal.
"We will be launching a formal procurement process this autumn which will be to deliver the service for a period of five years which is in line with national requirements and to drive continuous development of the service."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, September 21, 2015