A new organisation has been appointed to run the integrated urgent care service in Devon. And local people in Devon played a vital role in the process, helping shape the design of the service and choose the successful bidder.
From later this year, NHS 111, out-of-hours GP services and the Clinical Assessment Services (CAS) will be run by Practice Plus Group Urgent Care (formerly known as Care UK Health Care).
The group currently answers 1.5million calls a year to NHS 111, and runs out of
hours services, urgent treatment centres, minor injuries units, hospitals and general practices nationwide. Its NHS 111 service in Bristol was the first to be rated “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission.
In Devon, it will also run the clinical assessment service, in which clinicians use their expertise to respond to callers, prioritising cases and directing people to the most appropriate services.
The appointment follows a rigorous, competitive procurement process involving a thorough and robust evaluation of bids, with involvement from a range of evaluators who brought their different areas of expertise to the process. The contract is for five years from 1 October 2022, with room for a three-year extension.
Out-of-hours and NHS 111 services have been under pressure for the last few years, both in Devon and nationwide, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CCG built in a number of conditions for bidders to enter the tender process, including experience of delivering similar services and experience of service transformation.
The specification for the contract was partly built on what patients using the service told the CCG they needed and what they wanted to change. Questions to bidders were based on a range of factors including the insight provided by those using the NHS 111 and GP out-of-hours services. Patient representatives were involved in the final evaluation of the bids.
The current provider of the service is Devon Doctors Ltd.
Dr Paul Johnson, clinical chair of Devon CCG, said: “We are confident that people in Devon will see real improvements in the 111 and GP out-of-hours services. It is critically important that patients can access these services easily and then receive timely, high quality care according to their needs.
“The CCG would like to thank Devon Doctors for its dedication and hard work over the past years in providing the service.”
Kevin Brown, Director of Integrated Urgent Care at Practice Plus Group, said: “Webare delighted to have been given this responsibility to support patients and NHSbservices across Devon. We will place collaboration, partnership working and
innovation at the centre of the service to ensure that urgent and out-of-hours NHS care is comprehensive, resilient and easy to access locally.
“Between now and October we will be working closely with the existing team and the current provider, with whom we already have a strong relationship, and with NHS commissioners, GPs and other local NHS services to understand how we can best meet the current and future needs of patients in all parts of the community.”
Local people will still be able to contact 111 and use the out-of-hours doctor service by phone on 111 or online at 111.nhs.uk as normal during the transition process.
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