Andrew Donald, Chief Officer of Stafford and Surrounds & Cannock Chase Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), speaking on behalf of all Staffordshire CCGs said:

“In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent we have taken a pro-active decision to develop an interim solution for the provision of NHS 111 service.

Telephone Keypad

Telephone Keypad (Photo credit: Chris Campbell)

“After engaging with other out-of-hours service providers we have appointed Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care (SDUC) to work up plans for implementation of the 111 service locally.

“SDUC are part of the Vocare Group which currently provide services to a population of over 1.5 million, including Stoke-on-Trent and parts of Staffordshire. They have a history of providing urgent care services dating back 17 years and are a partner in the North East England NHS 111 service which is one of the best performing in the country.

“Patient safety is absolutely paramount and we will not announce a date for the interim solution to go-live until we are satisfied it is totally robust.  It will then be introduced using a phased approach, so that we can get the service absolutely right for each local community.

“NHS 111 remains a statutory requirement for each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide to their patients.   Where it is working well, the benefits of the urgent care system are really being highlighted including in the North East where the service is going from strength to strength.

“In the meantime Staffordshire people who require support outside GP opening hours should continue to call their regular GP number.

“This system is currently working well.  Calls are currently being answered in the required timeframe, and there has been no significant increase in attendances at Accident & Emergency or in ambulance despatches.”