New contract awarded to provide out of hours GP service in Norfolk
The region's ambulance service has been reappointed to provide Norfolk's out of hours GP service for the next three years.
NHS Norfolk and Waveney tendered the contract last year and six bids were scrutinised in an exacting process to find one potential preferred bidder.
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has now been awarded a new three-year contract to provide the service, beginning on August 29, 2012.
The trust employs mainly local family doctors, and has operated the service since 2004.
Nikki Cocks, director of primary care at NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: 'We worked very closely with the new GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Norfolk to set the specifications for the service.
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'We are confident that the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust will continue to develop and invest in this service in the future.
'NHS Norfolk and Waveney is looking forward to renewing its relationship and building up the service.'
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As well as operating the out of hours service, the trust will work to develop a 24/7, seven days a week, single point of access service for urgent and emergency care across the county.
The out of hours period runs from 6.30pm to 8am, Monday to Thursday, from 6.30pm on Friday evenings to 8am on Monday mornings, and throughout each Bank Holiday.
Lyn Reynolds, associate director of primary care services for the ambulance service, said: 'We will be working more closely with local patient groups, GP practices, Clinical Commissioning Groups and other community-based services to enhance the service in the future. We will continue to work closely with our 999 colleagues and hospitals to ensure that patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.'