There's a new threat to the running the non-emergency helpline NHS 111 in parts of London. One of the main providers NHS Direct says it's pulling out of its contracts because of financial problems.
Since its launch the phoneline has had problem after problem -- leading some people to go to A&E instead of calling the service.
A prominent Liberal Democrat peer has praised the troubled NHS non-emergency telephone service 111 for providing him with "efficient and superb" medical assistance after suffering a heart attack.
Speaking during a private notice question (PNQ) on NHS Direct, Lord Willis of Knaresborough said: "On June 9 I had reason to call 111 because I was having a heart attack.
"The response from 111 was not only excellent in York - not only at the same time did they call the paramedics, but they had me in hospital within 25 minutes to an absolutely superb accident and emergency."
NHS Direct says it is planning to stop providing the 111 service in Buckinghamshire, east London and the City, south east London, Sutton and Merton. The planned withdrawal comes after projecting a £26 million deficit for the coming financial year.
NHS England deputy chief executive Dame Barbara Hakin told ITV News NHS 111 is a "great concept" and blamed providers, including NHS Direct, for failing to deliver a quality service:
Dr Malcolm Kendrick told ITV News the111 service is "ridiculous" and says the NHS was "warned and warned" it wasn't going to work: