PERFORMANCE: The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire primary care trust cluster has said delivery of its NHS 111 service could slip – with unknown time and cost implications – because of a new technical specification from the Department of Health.

January board papers refer to a new directive that NHS 111 be compatible with the “spine” – the system which allows NHS bodies to exchange information.

The papers say: “There is a further chance of slippage following a change in the DH specification which now requires spine compliance, which will not be achieved for 12-18 months.

“Two workarounds are being scoped, but costs and timescales are unknown at present. The DH has advised that it will be possible, albeit extremely tight, to develop a workaround to enable launch in March.”

The papers also say NHS 111 rollout is “progressing quickly”. Three Assurance Panels and a pre-test to ‘test the new service to destruction’ will be completed before the planned soft launch on 20 March.

Angela Jones has been appointed clinical lead, while the local medical committee has provided “invaluable challenges” to ensure the system works for clinicians and patients.