COMMERCIAL: The launch of NHS 111 in Devon has been further delayed, making it likely to be one of the last areas of the country to go live.

The county’s two clinical commissioning groups have agreed to postpone the launch of the non-emergency phone number until at least September in order to learn from other areas of the country.

Devon was one of three primary care trust cluster areas to apply for an extension to the original 1 April deadline after the provider it awarded the contract to – Devon Doctors Ltd – pulled out. The contract was then awarded to South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust which was originally due to go live at the beginning of June.

Tim Burke, chair of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG, said: “We are not working to a deadline, we are working to getting it right and taking the time to ensure it offers the best service to our population.

“Delaying the launch of the service means we will be able to spend more time learning from other areas that have already gone live and understanding how the new service will impact on the range of primary care and hospital services in our area.”

South West Ambulance Service also provides NHS 111 in Dorset. Dr Burke said the ambulance trust had a good track record and was working with the CCGs to share any lessons learned.

“The way we are implementing the national NHS 111 programme means we can have the confidence that it will deliver for our patients and support our urgent care system for the long term.”