NHS Direct is planning to close 24 of 30 call centre across the country, meaning hundreds of jobs could be lost.
An NHS Direct spokeswoman said the company has been awarded contracts to provide the NHS 111 service for 34% of the population in England, from six of its 30 centres. She said:
"This does not necessarily mean we will be closing the other sites."
She added that the organisation is waiting for some decisions by the NHS Commissioning Board before the future of the other centres will be decided.
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South Tyneside Council say despite its financial pressures, it is committed to regeneration, economic growth and job creation in the borough