SHROPDOC will continue to provide out of hours GP services for patients from Powys until at least the end of September.

It had been announced at the end of 2017 that their contract would come to an end on March 31, and that they would be replaced by the planned roll-out of the NHS 111 Wales service.

The NHS 111 Wales service is supposed to provide a "one stop shop" that combines GP out of hours with the NHS Direct Wales service and had been expected to start in Powys on April 1.

It is understood that this has now been delayed by several months.

Powys Teaching Health Board said they "were delighted" to have extended the contract.

Health Campaigner and Powys County Councillor, Joy Jones had said that there were many questions about the NHS 111 Wales service that needed answering before it started in Powys.

She had urged the Health Board to continue using Shropdoc, if possible.

Cllr Jones said: "The one thing we as patients will see change before long will be the phone number we ring when we require out of hour help and that is the new 111 service which will be introduced in Powys later this year.

"At the moment things remain the same but there will be an update before long as to when the new service will begin."

A spokesman for Powys Teaching Health Board, said: "We are currently awaiting confirmation from the Clinical Commissioning Groups in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin on their timetable for re-procurement of their contract for GP out of hours services, but we understand that they aim to have their new contract in place from October 2018.

"In the meantime we are delighted to have agreed an extension of our contract with Shropdoc until the end of September 2018.

"Alongside this we will continue to work with Shropdoc, and with the Clinical Commissioning Groups in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, to develop the future approach to out of hours services for the people of Powys.

Shropdoc Chairman, Dr Russell Muirhead said: "We see Powys as a key part of the service and we are proud to have an excellent relationship with the Powys Teaching Health Board

"We are working closely with them on a number of potential longer term projects."

Wales Government, Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, AM has announced that the 111 service has been successful in the pilot projects at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board and Carmarthenshire areas since it started in October 2016 and following an independent evaluation will be rolling out the service Wales wide over the next three years.

Mr Gething, said:"It is clear from feedback that this service has been valuable in supporting patients and helping the NHS to treat patients with urgent care needs more effectively.

"The 111 service will support people to receive the most appropriate services for their needs, at the right time and in the right place.”

Chris Powell, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Area Manager for 111/NHS Direct Wales, added: “People living in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Carmarthenshire areas have been reaping the benefits of 111 for many months now, and soon everyone in Wales will have access to this service.

"This is another step towards a more modern approach to delivering urgent care, and we look forward to building on the success of 111 to date.”