Green light given for enhanced local access to NHS urgent care in Telford and Shropshire and Wrekin

Proposal to give patients in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin enhanced access to NHS urgent care services have been given the go-ahead.

They were approved by extra-ordinary meetings of the area’s two clinical commissioning groups yesterday (Weds Feb 10).

It means that eventually patients will have just one number to ring – NHS 111 - if they want to access advice or reassurance, need to speak to a doctor or nurse, or need to see an Out-of-Hours (OOH) GP.

The 111 number will be linked to a local hub.  OOH GPs will continue to be provided by the existing provider, Shropdoc, until at least 2018.

Dr Michael Innes, Chair of Telford & Wrekin CCG and a Stirchley GP said: “This is good news for out local communities and will offer huge opportunities to simplify access to urgent care in our area.

“Nationally the NHS has decided that all urgent care calls should come through to 111. By adopting this single, very easily remembered number, and combining it with a service provided by local clinicians we believe we can deliver the best possible access to people who need urgent care, especially during times when their own GP surgery is closed.”

Dr Innes added: “Already in the last 12 months, 111 has been used by over 30,000 people from Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin without any promotion. 

“Everyone knows that 999 is the number to use in emergencies. We want 111 to become as well know for people who don’t have an emergency but really need to speak to someone straight away about their medical needs or those of a loved one.”

NHS 111 will offer a very similar service to that currently operated by Shropdoc using their own separate number. Callers will initially be assessed by trained call handlers. Then options can include being transferred to a nurse or GP for further advice, arranging an appointment with an OOH GP or a home visit from an OOH GP. If the call is assessed as being an emergency an ambulance will be sent straight away.

Dr Helen Herrity, Chair of Shropshire CCG said: “With increasing numbers of local people calling 111 it is absolutely the right time to fully integrate our out-of-hours services with NHS 111 in-line with new national NHS commissioning guidelines. It means we will be able to provide a service that is simpler to access but still has a high degree of specialist local clinical knowledge.

“We know that people value the service provided by Shropdoc. The plans approved today ensure Shropdoc will continue to provide the OOH service until at least 2018 and the Shropdoc number will continue until the boards of both CCGs are assured that NHS111 delivers the required quality of service for patients."
Some frequently asked questions about NHS 111 and Out-of-Hours GP service in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin can be found here:

 
http://www.telfordccg.nhs.uk/nhs-111-and-gp-out-of-hours---integrated-urgent-care-faqs
 
The full report considered by the CCGs can be found here:
 
http://www.telfordccg.nhs.uk/extraordinary-board-meeting-10-february-2016