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Autumn launch set for NHS 111

It was announced today that the NHS 111 service in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) will now launch in autumn 2013.

NHS 111 is a telephone service which will be available across England and aims to make it easier for patients to access local NHS services. The number is for those patients who require urgent medical help or advice but whose condition is neither life-threatening nor a 999 emergency.

In May the three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) responsible for planning and buying many of the health services needed by patients in LLR, explained that patient safety is fundamental and would continue to be of paramount importance. This is why the service did not launch in June as previously planned.

The period between now and the launch is being used to evaluate the experiences and lessons learned from other areas to ensure that NHS 111 for residents in LLR will be of the highest quality and fit for purpose. Dr Saurabh Johri, clinical lead for NHS 111 service in LLR said: “We have been working very closely with Derbyshire Health United (DHU), who will run the service in our area, to ensure that we are confident that the service will meet the highest standards of service delivery and patient safety.”

Pauline Hand, 111 Programme and Operations Director at DHU, added: “We know from our experience of operating the NHS 111 service that employing the right number of high calibre staff is fundamental to providing a high quality service and we have robust recruitment and training plans in place to achieve this.”

The programme of rigorous testing covering every aspect of the service will continue over the summer months and will be followed by a programme of live system testing in September. There will then be a carefully managed and progressive roll-out of the service across LLR which will be completed by the end of October.

David Sharp, director of NHS England (Leicestershire and Lincolnshire), the body responsible for overseeing the work of CCGs, said: “We will be closely monitoring performance going forward but we know that the three CCGs have worked hard understanding concerns of patients and the public in order to ensure a smooth roll-out of the NHS 111 service in LLR.”

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