From The Mirror, note the naive words of Direct’s spokesperson:
NHS Direct is to shut after becoming “a casualty of privatisation”, it was revealed today.
The service announced in July it was pulling out of contracts to provide the 111 non-emergency number service due to financial problems.
NHS Direct began 15 years ago. It ran the national telephone advice line from the late 1990s until April this year, when the 111 service was launched.
The 111 service was split into 46 different contracts and NHS Direct won 11 of them.
But it soon pulled out of two services and said in July the remaining nine were “financially unsustainable”.
The 111 service is run by different organisations in each area, including private firms and ambulance trusts, who will now take on NHS Direct’s work.
NHS Direct used to be paid more than £20 per call when it ran the old 0845 number, which will officially cease next March. The 111 payment is around £7 to £9 per call.
NHS Direct said: “No patient services will be affected by the board’s decision, as we expect each of the services that NHS Direct is commissioned to provide beyond March 2014 to be transferred to other organisations, together with the staff who provide them.”
But Dr Clive Peedell, co-leader of the National Health Action party, said: “I believe NHS Direct is a casualty of privatisation.”
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham added: “The NHS has been battered by this Government. But this, by any reckoning, is one of worst acts of vandalism.
“It is a sad day when a valued and trusted NHS service, which provided reliable advice to millions, has to turn off the lights.
“The Government’s decision to break it up and privatise the service has resulted in call handlers replacing nurses and an inferior service to the public.”
Soon advice will not be based on clinical need from properly trained staff but the focus will have entirely shifted to hoodwinking the public out of as much money as possible. For a shocking guide to some MPs financial links to companies involved in private healthcare look no further than the following links. What a swindle: