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PCTs award NHS 111 contracts

Investigation: Harmoni and NHS Direct are the big contract winners so far from the roll-out of NHS 111, a Pulse investigation reveals. 

An analysis of data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows PCTs across the country are making rapid progress with procurement of the new urgent care number.

The big winners among the providers were Harmoni, which was bought by Care UK for a reported £48m earlier this month, and NHS Direct, each of which won 11 of the 39 contracts announced so far.

Derbyshire Health United has won contracts for three NHS 111 services, as has the South East Ambulance Service and the North East Ambulance Service.

One of the largest contract wins was Yorkshire Ambulance Service/Local Care Direct whichwon the Yorkshire and Humber contract worth £11.5m over five years.

Many PCTs refused to release details of the cost of the contracts but, of those that did, the cheapest rate was £1.39 per head of population for the service in Nottingham City, which will be run by Derbyshire Health United.

The cost of the contracts also appears to be linked to how densely populated the region is.

In East London, the Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Waltham Forest cluster procured a service run by the Partnership of East London Co-operatives for £1.88 per head in the first year and £2.10 in the second year.

The figures are based on 997,097 registered patients and the service is due to go live in January next year.

However, in the sparsely populated Cornwall and the Scilly Isles region, the NHS 111 service will cost £3 per head of population per year over the five-year contract, which is worth

Harmoni’s contracts included the service for Surrey, Sussex and Kent and Medway’s 4.5 million patients alongside the South East Ambulance Service. This contract was worth £28,659,062. 

Dr Peter Holden, GPC negotiator, said the NHS 111 roll-out was ‘unproven’.

‘We are concerned at the speed of the roll-out, which means taking some big risks. The cost savings are mind-blowingly small.’

He added: ‘The GPC view is that it should be rolled out over an extended number of months, if not years.’