Somerset has a new provider of the out-of-hours and NHS 111 services from this month.
Somerset Doctors Urgent Care (SDUC) has been commissioned by Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), to provide innovative out-of-hours urgent care and the NHS 111 helpline service to the county’s 540,000 residents.
In awarding both contracts to SDUC Somerset CCG expects the new service to deliver a more integrated approach to urgent care services across the county.
Close collaborative working between all parts of the county’s urgent care services is also expected to relieve the sort of demand experienced by district hospitals last winter when Accident and Emergency Departments saw unprecedented numbers of frail elderly patients and those with long-term conditions being admitted to hospital.
Dr Ed Ford, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s GP Emergency Care Lead, said: “Our plans for emergency and out-of-hours medical care aim to deliver a significant improvement to services in Somerset. Emergency and urgent out-of-hours medical services are available to help the most ill and vulnerable. Our aim is to see more seamless care delivered to patients whether in their own home or the community, as well as fewer people feeling they need to attend hospital Accident and Emergency Departments when they don’t have an urgent need to be there.
“Somerset Doctors Urgent Care is successfully providing the 111 and out-of-hours services for people living Staffordshire and out-of-hours services to the people of Bath and North East Somerset. We hope this same success will be replicated for the people of Somerset.”
Helen Mee, Regional Operational Manager with Somerset Doctors Urgent Care (SDUC), said: “We are delighted to be the new service provider for Somerset out-of-hours urgent care and NHS 111 service and we believe that we can improve access to the right service through a more integrated approach. We are looking forward to working closely with other local healthcare providers in the county to deliver high quality patient care.”
The 111 telephone helpline continues to be the number to call for all non-emergency queries. The service operates 24 hours a day, providing health advice and signposting the public to the correct service for their healthcare needs.
Somerset Doctors Urgent Care recently conducted a successful staff recruitment campaign to its new service and has opened its NHS 111 telephone call centre in Taunton.
For more information about the NHS 111 service visit: www.nhs.uk/111