Ten Years of NHS 111 in East Midlands

DHU Health Care’s NHS 111 service is celebrating its tenth anniversary – in a year that has seen unprecedented demand for the support it provides to people in the East Midlands.

The DHU 111 service was launched in December 2010 in the north of Derbyshire, covering a population of 50,000 patients.

After successfully rolling out the NHS 111 service to the whole county, DHU subsequently won the 111 contracts for Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, Lincolnshire and finally Milton Keynes.

They now provide the NHS 111 service to around 5 million patients, and staff numbers have grown from 70 to almost 850!

Call centres are based in Derby, Chesterfield and Leicester. Recent developments include automatic despatch of ambulances for every ambulance service in the country, appointment booking into other services including Urgent Care Centres, Minor Injury Units and GP practices, and video conferencing with patients.

There have been many things to be proud of during their 10 year history of running the NHS 111 service but arguably DHU’s finest accolade came in 2019, when they became the first NHS 111 service in the country to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission.

And in their tenth year, they have faced up to the new challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, making a massive contribution to supporting staff and communities through these difficult times. Handling an unprecedented number of calls, and reacting swiftly to changing circumstances, has meant that DHU 111 supported over one million people in the East Midlands in the first six months of the pandemic.

In addition, December sees a further development of the service as NHS 111 First is launched, encouraging patients to contact 111 before visiting hospital Emergency Departments (ED), and enabling the service to book appointments at the ED if appropriate.

Pauline Hand, Managing Director of DHU 111, commented, “None of our success would be possible without the hard work, dedication and care our staff bring to the workplace. I am constantly delighted and humbled by the stories I hear from across the organisation, which demonstrate this every single day. And I am looking forward with excitement to what the next 10 years bring.”

Chief Executive Stephen Bateman also recognised the contribution of others to DHU’s success. “Our NHS 111 service works closely with the whole health and social care community, including our own Urgent Care Services and a wide variety of partner organisations and individuals across the East Midlands. I would also like to acknowledge our commissioners, who have shown great confidence in us, and supported a number of developments over our 10 years.”

During December, DHU is celebrating the 10 years of their NHS 111 service with 10 days of stories, messages and activities for staff. Everyone in the service will also receive a goody bag as a small thank you and as a memento of this special anniversary.