NHS Trusts in the North West of England have tendered for a supplier to provide telephone services for the NHS's new 111 non-emergency number in a deal valued between £40m and £60m.
The NHS 111 non-emergency telephone number is to be rolled out nationally by 21 March 2013 and is to provide a single point of telephone access for all non-urgent care services and is different from the separate 999 emergency number.
NHS Shared Business Services Commercial Procurement Solutions is running the procurement process on behalf of the contracting authorities that consists of 24 primary care trusts in the area.
A notice in the Official Journal of the European Union said that the NHS 111 number will "provide call handling, clinical assessment and referral to an appropriate service with the aims of making it easier for the public to access urgent healthcare and to drive improvements in the way in which the NHS delivers that care".
The tender has been separated into four lots covering different regions. The first is for NHS Cumbria and NHS Lancashire, the second for NHS Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral & NHS Merseyside, the third is for NHS Greater Manchester and the fourth is for a "single footprint bid for the whole North West area".
The three-year deal could be extended for up to a further two years.