Ambulance trust picked to run new NHS 111 phone service

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AN AMBULANCE trust has been picked to run a new phone line for non-life threatening emergencies.

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded the contract to handle non-emergency medical calls for people in its region.

The trust will run the new NHS 111 service across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, including Chichester, when it comes into operation in April next year.

The trust will work in partnership with healthcare company Harmoni.

The chief executive of the ambulance trust, Paul Sutton, said: ‘We are delighted to have been awarded this contract in partnership with Harmoni.

‘It has always been our intention to be the single point of access for patients needing emergency or urgent care.

‘We believe an ambulance service in partnership with an out-of-hours provider provides a strong and safe platform to realise this ambition.

‘I believe we have won this contract because of the reputation we have developed over recent years for delivering quality and responsive services.’

NHS 111 will be free to call, 24 hours a day and every day of the year.

Rather than having to wait for a GP or nurse to call back, an assessment will be made on a caller’s symptoms at the first point of contact and advice given.