- West Country
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NHS Direct, which manages a third of England’s NHS 111 helpline services, has announced that it is to withdraw from its 111 contracts.
It will not affect the delivery of the 111 service in Somerset but it does means Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will have to find another provider.
The troubled NHS 111 telephone service was thrown into turmoil today as one of its main providers, NHS Direct, announced it was seeking to "withdraw from the contracts it entered into".
NHS England deputy chief executive Dame Barbara Hakin told ITV News NHS 111 is a "great concept" and blamed providers, including NHS Direct, for failing to deliver a quality service:
Dr Malcolm Kendrick told ITV News the111 service is "ridiculous" and says the NHS was "warned and warned" it wasn't going to work:
NHS England pledged to support the commissioners of 111 services to put in place alternative providers.
The company announced that it was preparing for a "planned withdrawal" from the contracts after projecting a £26 million deficit for the coming financial year.
NHS Direct provides the non-emergency phone line in nine regions of England.
NHS Direct is due to make a statement within the next half an hour regarding the non-emergency 111 helpline.
Earlier this month NHS Direct announced it would not be able to initiate contracts in Cornwall and North Essex.
A statement said: "NHS Direct have written to commissioners in Cornwall and North Essex advising them that they are unable to initiate contracts for the NHS 111 service because they cannot be delivered for the resources within the contracts."
NHS Direct originally won 11 of the 46 contracts to provide the 111 service.
Earlier this month the company announced that it would be unable to provide the service in North Essex and Cornwall.
But now it is also planning to stop providing the service in Somerset, Buckinghamshire, east London and the City, south-east London, Sutton and Merton, West Midlands, Lancashire and Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.