Published: July 29, 2013
Burnham residents reassured after NHS Direct pulls out of 111 hotline

Burnham-On-Sea residents have been reassured that the 111 NHS helpline service is continuing to operate despite NHS Direct's decision to withdraw from its existing 111 contracts.

Although the decision will not impact upon the delivery of the 111 service in Somerset, it does means Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a number of other CCGs across England will have to re-commission their 111 services from another provider.

The 111 service has been operating well in Somerset, says the CCG. "Since launching in February 2013 it has received over 44,000 calls; 99% of which are now being answered within the 60 second national standard," spokesman Paul Courtney told

The new 111 number is for members of the public to call with urgent, but not life-threatening, symptoms. It is also the number people in Burnham should call for urgent health advice or support should they become ill after their GP surgery has closed or at weekends or Bank Holidays.

Commenting on Monday's announcement by NHS Direct, Dr Ed Ford, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s GP Lead for 111, said: "I would like to reassure the people of Somerset that despite NHS Direct announcing that contractual difficulties have forced it to withdraw from providing the 111 service to Somerset and nine other areas of England, the 111 service in Somerset is continuing to operate as normally."

"As an interim measure we are holding talks with the South Western Ambulance Services NHS Foundation Trust with a view to ensuring the 111 service in Somerset continues to deliver a safe and prompt service."

"In the coming months Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group will be preparing to go out to tender again to secure a new provider of its 111 service."


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