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NHS Direct backs out of contracts to run NHS 111 because of poor funding

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4837 (Published 30 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4837
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

NHS Direct has announced that it is withdrawing from all its contracts to run the NHS 111 urgent advice telephone service in England, claiming that the contracts were not financially sustainable.

NHS Direct had already backed out of two of its NHS 111 contract in June, before the services were even launched, citing the same reason. It wrote to commissioners in North Essex and in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly complaining that the costs of providing the service exceeded the contract price.

The latest announcement affects all its other NHS 111 services, which cover Buckinghamshire, East London and the City, South East London, Sutton and Merton, West Midlands, Lancashire and Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire, and Somerset.

NHS Direct won 11 of the 46 regional contracts to deliver NHS 111. The other …

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