NHS Direct will close down in March next year

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 25 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6482
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

England’s NHS Direct service has announced that it will close completely by the end of this financial year and that all its remaining business will be transferred to other providers.

The provider of telephone and online advice, which was set up 15 years ago, announced in July that it was withdrawing from all its contracts to run the NHS’s 111 urgent advice telephone service in England, because the contracts were not financially sustainable.1

NHS Direct was set up under Labour in 1998 as a professionally staffed 0845 number (usually free to callers) to provide health information and advice. In 2010 the Conservative government decided that the 0845 service was too expensive for NHS Direct and would be scrapped, to be replaced by …

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