The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Communities which gave Members an update on regarding the national initiative, NHS 111 and its local implementation. In this respect, Mr Dave Sweeney and Jenny Owen from Halton CCG attended the meeting to present the report.
The Board was advised that research had made clear that the public find it difficult to access NHS services when they develop unplanned/unexpected healthcare needs. Changes in the way services were delivered, in particular the introduction of new services like NHS walk in centres, had increased the complexity of the urgent care system. NHS reviews had also found that patients wanted better information and more help to understand how to access the best care; especially urgent care.
The Board was further advised that The Department of Health had began work in 2008 which looked at introducing a single number to access NHS urgent healthcare services. This work included research with the public that found there was overwhelming support for such a service, in particular with a 999 style memorable number.
It was reported that The Government had stated its commitment to the National rollout of the new NHS 111 service as part of an integrated 24/7 system. The Government’s longstanding view was to ‘develop a coherent 24/7 urgent care service in every area of England that made sense to patients when they had to makes choices about their healthcare’
Furthermore it was reported that the Callers to NHS 111 would be put through to a team of highly trained call advisors, who were supported by nurses and paramedics. They would use a clinical assessment system and ask questions to assess the caller’s needs and determine the most appropriate course of action, including:
· Callers facing an emergency would have an ambulance dispatched to them without delay;
· Callers who could care for themselves would have information, advice and reassurance provided;
· Callers requiring further care were signposted to the most appropriate service; and
· Callers providing details of services outside the NHS would be provided with details of an alternative service.
It was highlighted that eventually the service would be professional facing which would assist agencies in identifying services within their local area. Each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was responsible for ensuring that all relevant services were uploaded onto the Directory of Services (electronic database) and internally verified by the service provider and clinicians. NHS Direct had been awarded the NHS 111 contract in October 2012
In conclusion, the following key deadlines were highlighted:-
· Local Services would be uploaded onto the Directory of Services - end of November 2012;
· The Pilot would operate from the end of November 12 to 20th March 2013;
· The Department of Health would ‘sign off’ the project between 11th and 12th February 2013;
· NHS 111 ‘Go live date’ was 21st March 2013; and
· A Local marketing campaign was to be devised during January – March 2013, with a national marketing campaign being held in September 2013.
A comprehensive ‘mobilisation’ plan had also been developed to ensure the effective implementation of NHS 111 across Cheshire and Merseyside.
The Board congratulated Jenny Owen and Dave Sweeney on the work they had undertaken to date and wished them success with the initiative.
It was noted that other Local Authorities did not have the same level of partnership arrangements as Halton Borough Council and had not been able to progress the initiative as quickly.
RESOLVED: That the report and comments raised be noted.