Wales will soon have its own co-produced version of the free 111 phone-line service.
The project will build on the strengths of current NHS Direct Wales and Out-of-Hours services, combining them in one single service. The new service will be accessible on a multi-channel basis, with initial access focussed on telephone based contact. It will deliver general health information and advice, including details of available local services and provide symptomatic callers with telephone clinical assessment by clinical staff. Clinical assessors will then be able to provide self-care advice or direct, refer or book callers into appropriate services such as GP Out of Hours appointments, community nursing services, Emergency Departments and, ultimately, non-NHS services.
This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the values of the government’s Prudent Health policy, promoting independence and shared responsibility by co-ordinating the services around what people want, motivating self care and meeting their needs as close to home as possible. The Director General and Chief Executive of NHS Wales, Andrew Goodall is promoting the need to better align services around the citizen, our communities, and our patients. He has acknowledged that, ‘it is easy to frame our delivery as traditional targets rather than […] aspirations for our population. Success means an understanding that health and wellbeing is not just for the NHS.’ Through explicitly embedding co-production principles throughout the implementation of the 111 / OOH project we hope to make that understanding tangible – and effective.
Our intention is to demonstrate this collectivist and co-produced approach throughout the 111/GP OOH implementation project. Drawing on the expertise of communities in Caerau, Ely and Glyncoch, we have begun to establish what the new service could achieve, and to bring together a group of enthusiastic and expert community volunteers who have offered to help us with the implementation phase. Fired up by their commitment, we are planning to work collaboratively with each local community as the service is rolled out across Wales. We will start in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board as soon as possible with a view to going live before the end of the year.
Over time, we will continue to extend this provision through to community services, working with the statutory sector, third-sector and community members to signpost callers to a range of local providers and support networks. We are planning to continue to improve our Directory of Services that will support self-care, early action and prevention. The Directory will forge links between the NHS and social care professionals, with those working to build community resilience and peer-support networks, and with community members themselves.