A new timescale for a contract transfer of the NHS 111 West Midlands service has been agreed upon, now to take place in March 2023.
It comes after the announcement that the current provider, West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), would be stepping back and DHU Healthcare would be taking up the service. The move was made to align with the increasing collaboration between NHS 111 services across other regions in England.
DHU is continuing to prepare for the switch, including the development of a new contact centre in Oldbury.
Initially, plans were drawn up for the switch to take place on October 25th, but after a review of the timeline, it was ultimately decided that it would not be possible. As a result, the ICB, WMAS and DHU Healthcare are working together to set a new date which is projected to be in March 2023.
Speaking of the updated date, Mark Axcell Chief executive Officer of the NHS Black Country ICB said “The driving force behind this change is to ensure we continue to provide the best service we can for patients whilst making the right preparations to transfer the service.”
Mark did acknowledge the extension could cause the WMA staff to feel ‘unsettled’ but reinforced that all organisations involved will continue to work in tandem to support staff. As preparations continue to be undertaken, DHU Healthcare will carry on with its recruitment campaign for additional staff at the new centre.
Mark continued “All three organisations are confident that this pragmatic solution will ensure we can concentrate on a smooth transition for the benefit of patients and staff.”