UK-based frontline healthcare services provider Totally has secured a £13m ($16.6m) contract extension from NHS England to continue providing NHS 111 contingency support.

East Midlands Business Link reported that the contract extension was awarded to Vocare, a part of Totally Urgent Care.

The contract covers a period of 12 months, starting on 16 February this year.

NHS England gave Vocare the initial contract to provide support for increased call handling and clinical capacity needs to relieve pressures on the local NHS 111 services.

The initial contract covered a period of 12 months and had a value of £10m a year. It was announced on 16 January last year.

Totally said the extension of the contract reflects ongoing demand for NHS 111, a service that offers support to patients via over-the-telephone healthcare advice and access to urgent and emergency care.

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Totally CEO Wendy Lawrence said: “Totally has significant experience in providing quality, resilient and responsive NHS 111 services.

“To date, we have answered almost half a million calls as part of NHS England’s National Resilience programme.

“These calls would otherwise have gone unanswered, leaving those seeking to access care without the support they needed.

“As demand has increased, we have responded, increasing capacity to ensure that calls to NHS 111 across the country are not abandoned. 

“The extension of this contract for a further year means that Totally continues to be a core partner in the delivery of NHS 111 services until February 2025.” 

The NHS recently announced that it carried out 2,980,258 urgent cancer screenings in the 12 months from November 2022 to October last year.

This figure represents an increase of almost 150,000 patients from the same period of 2021-22, as well as a rise of more than 620,000 patients from before the Covid-19 pandemic.