MPs will investigate the troubled rollout of NHS 111 in a forthcoming parliamentary review into emergency services by the House of Commons Health Committee.
The committee will publish a report on NHS 111 and the structure of emergency services before Parliament recess in mid-July, its chair has told Pulse.
Stephen Dorrell MP said the committee will review the whole spectrum of NHS emergency services. This follows reports of serious problems with the rollout of the triage system, which has led to it being postponed in many areas of the country.
He told Pulse: ‘We have agreed among ourselves that we are going to do a review of NHS emergency services. Obviously 111 is an important part of that but it is not the whole thing.
‘We are looking to review the whole emergency service, whether it is 111, primary care, primary community based services, walk-in centres, or provision by conventional A&E services, urgent care centres or major trauma units.’
The issue as a whole has been ‘subject to a whole lot of public discussion’, he added.
Mr Dorrell would not comment on the problems faced by NHS 111 before the inquiry.
He said: ‘We need to look at the facts behind it. I am obviously aware of the reports coming out. The objective of 111 is the right one. Instead of having a discrete advice service from the rest of the health service, as I understand it, NHS 111 tries to provide a more integrated service. I think that is the right objective. The question is whether it is working in practice.’
The committee will meet privately on 1 April to discuss the terms of reference and will report back before the summer recess, he added.
Mr Dorrell stressed that the inquiry would not focus on the issues with Lewisham A&E.
He said: ‘I’m sure Lewisham will come up but I think it is important it isn’t side tracked into a review of Lewisham. This is about the right structure of emergency services in the health service as a whole.’