Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the NHS organisation responsible for the planning and funding of local health services, is inviting ‘expressions of interest’ from any suitably qualified provider to deliver a new Integrated Urgent Care Service for the county.
A nationally developed service specification was published by NHS England last year calling upon England’s 200 Clinical Commissioning Groups to develop a new model of service. This would deliver 24/7 access to integrated urgent care; with clinical advice and treatment being incorporated into the NHS 111 telephone helpline service as well as GP Out-of-Hours services.
Members of the public will still call the 111 for clinical advice but have the added benefit of an assessment by a doctor, nurse or other suitably qualified professional
Commenting upon local urgent care services, Nick Robinson, Somerset CCG’s Chief Officer, said:
“Members of the public can be reassured that whilst the procurement process takes place, the existing NHS 111 telephone helpline and GP Out-of- Hours service remains safe and effective.
“I am pleased that our existing service provider, Vocare Ltd, has worked in close collaboration with Devon Doctors who will be managing the GP Out-of-Hours service on an interim basis from the end of April. The priority for everyone has been to ensure that patients get the necessary health support they need and I am confident this will be delivered in a more timely way. The views of service users and the public will also be incorporated into the development of the new service model.
“If you or a family member become ill after your GP Practice has closed, then remember to telephone NHS 111.”
In February this year Somerset CCG announced that that it had given Vocare Ltd, the county’s existing provider of Somerset’s NHS 111 and GP Out-of-Hours Services, notice of its intention to procure a new urgent care service this year.
It was also with the mutual agreement of Vocare Ltd that the county’s GP Out-of-Hours Service has been transferred (on an interim basis) to the management of Devon Doctors Ltd. Devon Doctors Ltd will be responsible for delivering GP Out-of-Hours services to over half million Somerset residents from Monday 30 April 2018.
The procurement of a new Integrated Urgent Care Service for Somerset is expected to be completed later this year with the successful provider delivering the new model of service from the end of February 2019.