NHS 111 services in Luton and Bedfordshire will be provided by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust after it won through in a tendering process.
The area had been a pathfinder for the new 111 and the ambulance service was successful, despite the existing provider tendering to continue providing the service.
“This is extremely prestigious contract as Luton was one of the pathfinder pilots for NHS 111 and the trust were able to win the tender despite fierce completion from the existing provider,” stated papers from the ambulance trust’s board meeting on 26 September.
The trust also hopes to win a similar tender to run the new telephone triage service in South East Essex.
It had previously won the tender to provide the NHS 111 service for NHS Norfolk. Around 14 former NHS Direct staff in Norwich have already been transferred to East of England Ambulance Service with their previous terms and conditions.
However, as previously reported by Nursing Times, there have been issues in some parts of the country over the transfer of nursing staff from NHS Direct to the new NHS providers.
In particular this was focused on the North East, where the new NHS 111 providers had not wanted to apply Cabinet Office guidelines protecting terms and conditions to staff that were transferred. They have subsequently agreed to take NHS Direct staff on with protected pay for a limited period.
At an NHS Direct board meeting last week it emerged there were also issues with staff transfers in Derbyshire, where NHS Direct’s 0845 number was switched off in September.
NHS Direct staff have been seconded to 111 provider Derbyshire Health United Ltd on a temporary basis while a decision is reached on the application of the guidelines in consultation with the DH.