The decision by West Midlands Ambulance Service to take over the running of the non-emergency 111 phoneline will result in fewer ambulances being sent to non-emergency incidents.

Anthony Marsh, the trust’s chief executive, also said that he will significantly increase the number of staff working on the service to bring it up to a high standard.

He said too many 111 calls are currently resulting in ambulances being sent out – and said that integrated working would improve this record.

Mr Marsh was speaking at a meeting of the service’s trust board, ahead of the takeover of the 111 line from Care UK on Tuesday (November 5).

He said: “The trust can now confirm that an agreement has been reached with commissioners that will see WMAS take over the running of NHS 111 service in the majority of the West Midlands from November 5. 

“As the board is aware, the trust was asked to provide it as commissioners want to integrate 111 and 999 services into a single provision to improve the care provided to patients.

“The first step of this change will be for the service, across the West Midlands (except Staffordshire), to be transferred from Care UK to WMAS on November 5.

“We will be looking to significantly increase the number of staff working in 111 so that there is more resilience over the winter period.”

He added: “Integrating the services will provide a more patient-responsive service, deliver better performance and reduce the unnecessary use of ambulances.

“As staff in EOC and on the frontline know only too well, too many 111 calls end up with ambulances being dispatched. 

“With WMAS providing the 111 service, we will have a greater ability to reduce the conversion rate and ensure suitable clinical triage is completed before ambulances are sent.”

Mr Marsh also hailed the work of staff and directors at both WMAS and Care UK. 

He said: “A great deal of work has been undertaken and we are grateful for the support provided by Care UK who are committed to making the handover as easy as possible for staff.

“I would also like to thank the directors and staff of the trust who have worked tirelessly to bring this to fruition in such a short timescale.”