NHS 111 advice line restarts in West Midlands

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The NHS 111 helpline has restarted under new management in the West Midlands after an eight-month suspension over "unacceptably low" standards.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) now runs the non-emergency advice line, having taken over from NHS Direct.

A report by NHS commissioners in April said some centres were struggling to cope with the number of calls.

It concluded patient safety could have been compromised.

The service covers Birmingham, Solihull, the Black Country, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Coventry and Warwickshire.

When signing the contract in October to take over the project, the chief executive of WMAS, Anthony Marsh, said his organisation had expertise in running complex clinical call-handling operations, which "will allow us to bring real improvements" to the 111 line.

The NHS Direct 0845 46 47 telephone number has been switched off in the West Midlands and callers are being advised to redial 111.

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