Two NHS 111 pilots have been delayed after commissioners decided they had not followed their own procurement procedures and could be at risk of legal challenge.
The Inner North West London primary care trust cluster had approved pilots for the non-emergency telephone service to go live this month in Hillingdon and within the cluster, which covers Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Hammersmith, and Fulham.
In a statement the cluster said it had decided to delay the pilots as the procurement of suppliers “did not meet our standing financial instructions or the rules laid out in the Public Contracts Regulation 2006”.
It continued: “This could lead to the risk of a legal challenge if allowed to continue, so more time has been given to resolve the issues before beginning the pilots.”
Currently each pilot is being led by the existing out of hours provider for the area: Harmoni in Hillingdon and the not-for-profit GP-led London Central and West Unscheduled Care Collaborative in INWL.
The INWL statement said a new tender process would begin “shortly” with an “accelerated procurement” due to be completed by spring 2012.
It said: “Our aim is to have a fully functional NHS 111 service in North West London available to the public and our GP colleagues as soon as possible.”
HSJ understands pilots elsewhere in London have been through an acceptable procurement and will go ahead as planned.
The launch of the 2012-13 operating framework confirmed the government’s commitment to rolling out the NHS 111 number nationally by April 2013, when it will replace NHS Direct.
The framework said commissioners must follow “any qualified provider” principles for full procurement but did not specify guidance on the pilots.