Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "This is a mess of ministers' own making. Jeremy Hunt was warned that this would happen but he chose to plough on regardless.
"It's not good enough Jeremy Hunt hiding behind his officials. He must take responsibility and put a plan in place to ensure a safe and sustainable service in all parts of England.
"The destruction of NHS Direct, a trusted, national service, is one of the worst acts of vandalism by this Government. It has been broken up into 46 cut-price contracts. Computers have replaced nurses and too often the computer says 'go to A&E'."
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."