Alliance led by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust awarded the contract for new Thames Valley 111 Integrated Urgent Care Service ‘The new front door to urgent care’ Patients across the Thames Valley will be opening a new front door to urgent care services from September 2017. South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) has been awarded the contract for the new Thames Valley 111 telephone service by the 10 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the Thames Valley. SCAS leads an alliance set up to deliver the service, which also includes Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. The alliance brings together the relevant skills and expertise from local NHS providers needed for patients to access a wide range of medical disciplines. Thames Valley 111 will now offer patients a seamless 24/7 urgent clinical assessment and treatment service – bringing together NHS 111, GP out of hours and other clinical advice, such as dental, medicines and mental health. A team of clinicians will be available on the phone when needed, and will be linked into a new NHS Clinical Hub – a group of healthcare professionals who can help get patients the right care, at the right time, in the right location. A thorough and rigorous procurement process took place involving clinicians, specialists and NHS managers from across the Thames Valley in the decision-making. The focus was on selecting a provider which will work across all CCGs to support the development of an integrated 24/7 care service on a local basis. Sam Burrows, the senior responsible officer for the procurement process, said: “We are pleased to announce that the Thames Valley 111 Partnership, led by SCAS, has been awarded the contract. This is an exciting time and one which is going to improve patients’ experience by getting people to appropriate care more efficiently by this integration of urgent care services. “We undertook a comprehensive procurement process, which included engaging with clinicians, patients and members of the public to identify issues, address them and design a new integrated urgent care service which will revolutionise the experience for those calling 111. The Thames Valley region will be an early adopter of this new approach which will be rolled out throughout England by 2020. “During the summer of 2015 the 10 CCGs in the Thames Valley undertook widespread public engagement with key stakeholders, as well as a review of feedback from existing users of the current 111. This gave us a picture of patient experiences and desired improvements to NHS 111, as well as gaining an understanding of public knowledge of urgent care services. “I would like to thank all those local residents, stakeholders and clinicians who took the time to give their views and feedback during the engagement process. Your valuable contribution will help shape this integrated service and confirms our commitment to ensuring that patients are at the heart of the services we commission.” Philip Astle, Chief Operating Officer at SCAS, said “We are delighted to be at the heart of these exciting developments of the NHS 111 in the Thames Valley. SCAS has a strong track record of working with healthcare partners to deliver outstanding care to the people of the Thames Valley, and this transformation of NHS 111 will enable us to build on that record.” A detailed mobilisation plan is now being implemented; working towards the launch in September 2017. The national Commissioning Standards for Integrated Urgent Care published in 2015, describe an ambitious model of care for the future in support of the Urgent and Emergency Care Review. Commissioners across Thames Valley are committed to delivering a regional service that meets the full potential of these standards.