6 August 2013

RCGP Response to NHS Direct Decision to Withdraw from NHS 111 Services

The RCGP issued a statement following NHS Direct withdrawing from NHS 111

"This is a really unfortunate situation but we are pleased that decisive action is being taken and that GP commissioners will be taking over responsibility. The immediate and most important consideration must be to our patients and the public who now need more reassurance then ever that they can rely on the service while the changes are taking place.

"The intention of setting up a unified number to support 999 was a sound one but the implementation of NHS 111 has been significantly problematic, meaning that the public lost confidence in it before it was even fully up and running.

"It was rolled out far too early, with unnecessary pressure placed on some sites to go live before they were ready. We also had concerns about how the service itself was being run. Some areas were properly resourced with well-trained clinical staff whilst other areas were struggling to cope, leaving many patients not knowing where to turn for help or facing long delays in trying to get through.

"This cannot become another competitive tendering exercise. Valuable lessons must be learnt and the system stabilised if we are to regain the trust of patients and make them feel safe."

Further Information

RCGP Press office - 020 3188 7574/7575/7576
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659


The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 44,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.