Nationally the Labour Party has expressed concerns about the service – which replaced NHS Direct – since it launched. Demand was initially too great, and cut-price contracts had left financial implications for those organisations running them.
Now the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) has admitted that it is £2m over budget and could pull out of running the service because of a funding shortfall. It is calling on local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to help with the funding from 2014-15.
Denise Burke, from the North Norfolk Labour Party, said: “Since the start of the 111 service Labour has said the NHS Direct replacement was flawed. This is yet another example of why.
It would be catastrophic if EEAST were to terminate their contract. GP surgeries and A&Es are already at bursting point and patients are facing long delays to see a doctor. These problems would be exasperated if something was to happen to the 24-hour telephone service.
The Health Minister Norman Lamb needs to get a grip of these issues happening on his doorstep.”