- West Country
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The Liberal Democrat MP for West Cornwall Andrew George has written to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP to urge him not simply to re-tender contracts for NHS 111 services.
Mr George is a member of the Commons' Health Select Committee.
NHS Direct, which manages a third of England’s NHS 111 helpline services, has announced that it is to withdraw from its 111 contracts.
It will not affect the delivery of the 111 service in Somerset but it does means Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will have to find another provider.
The troubled NHS 111 telephone service was thrown into turmoil today as one of its main providers, NHS Direct, announced it was seeking to "withdraw from the contracts it entered into".
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:
NHS England pledged to support the commissioners of 111 services to put in place alternative providers.
The company announced that it was preparing for a "planned withdrawal" from the contracts after projecting a £26 million deficit for the coming financial year.
NHS Direct provides the non-emergency phone line in nine regions of England.