‘Improvements’ made to region’s NHS 111 and out-of-hours GP service - according to Norwich health chiefs

IC24 111 call centre.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

IC24 111 call centre.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Health bosses say 'real improvements' have been made to the region's NHS 111 and GP out-of-hours service, nine months on from a new company taking over the management.

Integrated Care 24 took over the contract for providing the services to Norfolk and Wisbech residents last September, in a deal worth more than £40m.

The organisation, a not-for-profit social enterprise, came under pressure three months later when a leaked report revealed concerns about the safety of the service provided.

Soon after it emerged on certain nights there was only one GP available to make home visits across Norfolk and Wisbech, with IC24 additionally using nurses and paramedics.

IC24 also missed targets within its NHS 111 service, for not answering calls fast enough and for patients waiting too long for a callback from a clinician who would assess their condition further.

IC24 and Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have since been working on a 'recovery plan' and at a meeting of the CCG's board of governors today members were told the services are improving, particularly in the last two weeks.

Karen Watts, acting director of quality, strategy, and innovation, said: 'There is a lot of support for recruitment of staff, a graduation bay has been put in place, and new rotas have been implemented.

'The out-of-hours service has recruited more advanced nurse practitioners and urgent care practitioners.

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'Overall we're seeing more improvements within NHS 111 and as assured as we can be of the out-of-hours service.'

Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission has inspected the services and their findings are expected to be published any time.

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Have you got a story about NHS 111 or out-of-hours GP services?

Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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