NHS 111 delays in Devon

North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple

North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

Devon to be one of the last areas to launch NHS 111 service.

NHS Devon has delayed the launch of its 111 service, which will replace NHS Direct, until September.

The move means Devon will be one of the last areas in the country to go live.

Dr Tim Burke, chairman of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning group, said he wanted the NHS in Devon to learn from the issues in other parts of the country to get things right for patients in Devon.

“We want to fully scrutinise our service so that when we launch we are assured it has been thoroughly tried and tested,” he said.

“We are not working to a deadline, we are working to getting it right and taking the time to ensure it offers the best service to our population.

“Delaying the launch of the service means we will be able to spend more time learning from other areas that have already gone live and understanding how the new service will impact on the range of primary care and hospital services in our area.”

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The new NHS 111 service makes it easier for the public to access healthcare services when they need healthcare help/advice fast, but it’s not a life-threatening situation.

The service will be operated by the South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SWAST) who also operate 999 calls and are trained to deal with challenging situations.

Operators will assess the callers’ symptoms and give them healthcare advice or direct them to the right local service.

Dr Burke added: “We are confident in our plans and this short delay will give us a bit more time to make certain that we have everything in place and that it is tested.”

NHS 111 will be available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week and is free to call from landlines and mobile phones (except pay-as-you-go which must have at least 1p credit).

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