LAW firm Ward Hadaway has helped to play a part in bringing the new out of hours medical assistance service – NHS 111 – to the North East.
Experts from the Newcastle-based firm’s public sector and commercial team advised the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) on a range of procurement and contractual issues surrounding the Trust’s provision of the service to people across the region.
The NHS 111 service is aimed at people needing urgent medical help but where the circumstances are not life-threatening. The 24-hour service was initially trialled in County Durham, where it was operated by NEAS.
The trust then teamed up with Northern Doctors Urgent Care to jointly bid for the contract to supply the service across the North East, from Berwick down to Teesside.
This bid won the five-year contract to provide the service in November 2011 and the first phase of NHS 111 in the North East is now due to go live on September 4.
Ward Hadaway’s public sector commercial team advised NEAS throughout the procurement process and on contractual arrangements with Northern Doctors Urgent Care on delivering the NHS 111 service.
Melanie Pears, partner and head of public Sector at Ward Hadaway, led the firm’s team advising NEAS.
She said: “The NHS 111 service represents a major change in the way that urgent health care services are delivered to people right across the region, so we are delighted to have played a part in helping to bring the service to the North East.
“Having advised North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust for a number of years, we were able to work closely in partnership with our colleagues at the Trust.”
Under the system, callers will be able to ring 111 free of charge and will speak to fully trained advisers, backed up by experienced nurses.
Advisers will ask questions to assess callers’ symptoms, then give the appropriate advice or direct them to the local service that can help them best.
This could be a hospital accident and emergency department, an out-of-hours doctor, a walk-in centre or urgent care centre, a community nurse, an emergency dentist or a late-opening chemist.