NHS England will spend £33m on re-procuring technical elements of NHS 111, a board paper has revealed.

The organisation needs to procure the telephony elements for 111, which provides the infrastructure for the 111 triage service.

The procurement has to be completed by April 2015, which the organisation says will be difficult.

“The timeline to achieve this re-procurement is challenging, and any slippage will impact on the set up and test phase and create a significant risk of loss of business continuity for the NHS 111 service,” says the board paper.

The NHS 111 service had a troubled start, as the telephone triage service faced significant problems with staff shortages, treatment delays and ambulances being summoned unnecessarily, since being launched in Easter 2013.

In July NHS Direct announced it would withdraw from all its 111 contracts as they were “financially unsustainable”.  NHS England and local commissioners then had to appoint a range of step-in providers to take over the services, most of which were ambulance trust and GP out-of-hours providers.

The contracts with the new providers are in place until April 2015.

Clinical commissioning groups were told in October last year not to agree any NHS 111 contracts to start before April next year, while NHS England considers its options for the future of the service.

NHS England’s chief operating officer Barbara Hakin said earlier this year that NHS 111 is now stable and improving, there are still issues around the service that need to be addressed.