General practice out of hours service (GP OOH) will be “brought closer” to NHS 111 as part of an NHS England redesign to streamline urgent care.
This service integration will provide patients with a “new front door” to urgent care, and “offer patients improved access to a new 24/7 urgent clinical assessment, advice and treatment service – bringing together NHS 111, GP OOH and clinical advice”, NHS England announced.
The move is part of NHS England’s ongoing Urgent and Emergency Care Review and follows consultation with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the British Medical Association (BMA).
Professor Keith Willett, NHS England’s director for acute care, who is heading the review, said: “Most patients access urgent healthcare through their own GP practice in the daytime and we expect this will remain the first point of contact in the future. But around the clock the ‘111’ number will find you GP and other urgent health care advice – so it makes sense to align the GP out of hours calls behind the same ‘111’ number.
“A fundamental redesign of the NHS urgent care ‘front door’ is much needed and now underway. This includes A&E, GPs, 999, 111, out of hours, community and social care services. Let’s make finding urgent help simple – 111 if it can’t wait until tomorrow, and 999 for real emergencies,” he added.