NHS Direct pulls out of Cornwall NHS 111 helpline

111 call centre There are claims thousands of callers have been unable to get through to the new helpline

Related Stories

The organisation which was due to operate the new NHS non-emergency service in Cornwall has pulled out of the contract.

NHS 111 - which replaces NHS Direct - is for patients with urgent but not life-threatening symptoms.

Since the roll-out began in other parts of the country in April, it has been beset by problems.

NHS Direct, which was earmarked to run the helpline in Cornwall, said it was financially unsustainable.

It was originally expected to start in the Duchy in May, but after concerns were raised about the quality of the service, it was delayed in order to "learn from the issues in other parts of the country".

NHS 111

  • The free number is for patients with urgent, but not life-threatening symptoms
  • This includes people needing fast medical help, but who are not a 999 emergency
  • Trained advisers who answer the phones offer basic health advice and direct the caller to the most appropriate service for their needs - A&E or GP out-of-hours services, for example

The service is being run by a variety of organisations, including private firms and ambulance trusts.

In some areas it has been claimed the high demand has meant thousands of callers have been unable to get through.

There have also been claims that inappropriate referrals by 111 staff had put a strain on ambulances and hospitals.

NHS Direct has apologised to health commissioners NHS Kernow for the delay its decision will cause to the new service starting in Cornwall.

NHS Kernow has yet to comment.

Across the border in Devon, the launch of NHS 111 which was due to start in April, then June, has again been postponed until September.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Cornwall



Min. Night 9 °C

Features & Analysis

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa

  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine

  • People take part in an egg-cracking contest in the village of Mokrin, 120km (75 miles) north of Belgrade, Serbia on 20 April 2014In pictures

    Images from around the world as Christians mark Easter Sunday

  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world


  • An aerial shot shows the Olympic Stadium, which is closed for repair works on its roof, in Rio de Janeiro March 28, 2014.Extra Time Watch

    Will Rio be ready in time to host the Olympics in 2016? The IOC president gives his verdict

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.