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Letter from Dr Laurence Buckman to Andrew Lansley re: NHS 111

Dear Andrew

NHS 111

I am writing to express our serious misgivings about the rolling out of the new NHS 111 service.  Our key concerns include specific problems in some of the pilot areas; failure to ensure a smooth transition or to address the impact on existing services; fitness for purpose of the new service; value for money and local sensitivity; and finally a rushed procurement process that could leave CCGs little choice of provider.  I am enclosing a short paper that develops these issues.

We seek your assurance that the procurement of NHS 111 services will be slowed down, to allow for proper evaluation of the pilots; and that you will adopt a flexible deadline for full implementation of the service to ensure that fledgling clinical commissioning groups can play a full role in procurement decisions. We are concerned that a failure to do this could lead to serious unintended consequences that could be avoided with a more flexible approach.

I would be happy to discuss this further with you or your officials if that would be helpful.

Yours sincerely

Dr Laurence Buckman