A £48 million contract for out of hours GP and 111 services has been awarded to a consortium of public and private providers, including an acute trust, by commissioners in the Cornwall region.
The contract has been handed to Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, Kernow Health Community Interest Company and Vocare, as decreed by Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group.
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be covered by the new contract, with a population of 550,000 people resident in the region.
The new contract will be formally held by the trust, with Kernow CIC leading the services and Vocare providing most of the staff.
Kernow CIC is a non-profit, GP-owned provider.
And Vocare is responsible for delivering out of hours GP and urgent care services across England, with the North East, Yorkshire, and Leicestershire and Rutland being particular areas of focus.
The five-year contract is worth over £48 million, with the arrangement becoming active at the beginning of December.
Rob White, the CCG’s clinical lead for urgent and elective care, indicated that he is delighted at the decision of the commission.
“We didn’t know if there would be an integrated form of bid coming in. It’s fantastic to see providers taking on the challenge of working together to align their pathways. Our new integrated NHS 111 and GP out of hours service will be provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and specialist clinicians,” White commented.
Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust was also involved with supporting the bid.
This organisation is responsible for running a network of minor injuries units in the county.
Toby Slade, clinical director for emergency care at Royal Cornwall, believes that the new arrangements will enable the local authority to improve care in the region.
“We firmly believe that locally managed and truly integrated 111 and GP out of ours services will help to address the bottlenecks in urgent and emergency care.”
Meeting the four-hour target for Accident and Emergency has approved particularly problematical in the region, with the trust having failed to meet the target over the last four financial years.
It achieved 74.3% for type 1 A&E departments in the final quarter of the 2016-17 financial year.
Other bids were also made, but the trust has decided against making any of these public, although it did concede that a tendering process had taken place.
The 111 service in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has been provided by South Western Ambulance Service FT since 111 was established nationally in 2014.