WEST Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) says it will hand over the running of the 111 helpline to DHU Healthcare.
Bosses say that patients will not see a change in the way they access NHS111 and it will involve a move towards closer working between the East and West Midlands into a single shared model, which mirrors the increasing collaboration across some other regions in England.
NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) awarded the contract to DHU Healthcare, initially covering an 18-month period.
DHU already operate the East Midlands contract, are rated ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC and are a not for profit, social enterprise and community interest company.
The ambulance trust, which has run the 111 service since November 2019, said it wants to focus on improving its 999 service.
WMAS Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “As the focus of our emergency and urgent service is based on the West Midlands only, and the move in 111 is to move to a regional basis, it makes sense to step back and allow a new 111 provider to take the service to the next level.
“What is important is that patients will not see any change in the way they access NHS111 across the East and West Midlands.
Mr Marsh said the Trust would work with staff and their representatives as further information becomes available about how DHU will run the contract.
DHU Healthcare said it is committed to finding a call centre location which minimises disruption to staff currently working from the base in Brierley Hill
Stephen Bateman, chief executive at DHU said: “Our 111 service has a well-deserved outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission, and we look forward to a close partnership with West Midlands Ambulance Service to transition this contract.
“Our intention is to build on the exceptional service they have grown over the last three years, and to support the staff who join us. We know they deliver compassionate, high-quality patient care and we welcome the knowledge, skills and experience they will bring to our DHU family.”