Patients who become ill overnight or need urgent medical advice, support or treatment can expect to receive more responsive and joined-up urgent care services from early next year.
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the NHS organisation responsible for the planning and funding of local health services, has awarded a five year contract to Devon Doctors Ltd to deliver a new Integrated Urgent Care Service for the county from February 2019.
At the end of April this year the CCG went out to national advert to procure an Integrated Urgent Care Service based upon NHS England’s national service specification. The CCG invited ‘expressions of interest’ from any qualified service provider.
After a comprehensive procurement process, which incorporated the views of patient representatives, the £7 million annual contract has been awarded to Devon Doctors Ltd, the organisation currently providing an Integrated Urgent Care Service to more than a million people in Devon.
Nick Robinson, Somerset CCG’s Chief Officer said:
“The Governing Body of Somerset CCG opted to commission a new integrated urgent care service this year because it presented an opportunity to develop our local service in line with national strategic objectives.
“The CCG would like to thank all the respective organisations who expressed an interest in delivering this new service. The quality of the bids received by the CCG was very high and the evaluation of each proposal was very thorough.
“The new service specification looks beyond a re-provision of the 111 telephone helpline and GP out-of-hours services. It will deliver a new model of service delivery, integrating 24/7 access to urgent care. This will include the creation of a Clinical Assessment Service (CAS).
Mr Robinson added: “Members of the public calling NHS 111 from next year can expect to receive a ‘consult and complete’ model of care and, where appropriate, a suitably skilled healthcare professional providing a more effective assessment and consultation of their needs there and then.”
Dr Justin Geddes, Chief Executive with Devon Doctors Ltd said:
“We are delighted to have secured the contract to deliver Somerset’s Integrated Urgent Care Service. Our bid was founded on integration with local providers of service including GPs, hospital trusts and community and mental health services. In particular, the 111 element of the service will be provided with our partner Care UK who are already a very experienced provider of 111 and integrated urgent care services.
“We expect the new service to not only bring benefits to the Somerset healthcare community, but also an improved experience for patients.”
Somerset’s new Integrated Urgent Care Service will be operational from the end of February 2019.