West Midlands Ambulance Service is to hand back the 111 contract it provides for most of the West Midlands to concentrate on its 999 service. Part of this development will involve a move towards closer working between the NHS 111 service across the East and West Midlands integrating the two areas into a single shared model, which mirrors the increasing collaboration across some other regions in England.
NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB), after a competitive process, awarded the contract to DHU Healthcare, initially covering an 18-month period. DHU already operate the East Midlands contract, is rated ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC and is a not for profit, social enterprise and community interest company.
West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh said, “As the focus of our emergency and urgent service is based on the West Midlands only, and the move in 111 is to move to a regional basis, it makes sense to step back and allow a new 111 provider to take the service to the next level.
“What is important is that patients will not see any change in the way they access 111 across the East and West Midlands. As a Trust we will also be able to concentrate on making the improvements necessary to improve our 999 service. As such, we feel a new 111 provider will be able to embed the changes in telephony that are set to be introduced which will allow the 111 service to develop further.”