South Lakes MP Tim Farron has said he will push the Government to look at whether the Ambulance Service could run the NHS 111 helpline in Cumbria, as they do in the North East. The move comes after NHS Direct pulled out of their contracts in the North West, and issues were highlighted with private contractors elsewhere in England.
The Department of Health has said that patients should be reassured that the NHS 111 telephone service will continue in Cumbria, despite reports that the company running it are pulling out.
NHS Direct says it can no longer afford to run the NHS contract for Cumbria and Lancashire but will continue to operate the service until the Government can find someone else to take it over. The company gets paid per call and says it is not getting enough funding to cover its costs.
Tim said: "People I have spoken to have told me that NHS 111 is usually a very good service, staffed by caring and hard working people. I hope that now the contract has been handed back to the Government we can look at solutions that work for local patients. For example we could look at copying the North East and see if the NHS 111 service could be run by the Ambulance Service. This is something I will be lobbying Ministers on in the coming days."