In an open letter to health secretary Andrew Lansley, Mr Burnham denies the coalition government’s claims that it is simply implementing Labour plans to axe NHS Direct.
Mr Burnham writes: ‘I am therefore requesting that you make an urgent statement to parliament to clarify the future of NHS Direct, including:
- Will you be consulting on the future of NHS Direct?
- What is the status of the 3,400 staff who work for NHS Direct and do they face redundancy?
- If the pilots of 111 are not successful, will the decision to scrap NHS Direct be reversed?
- How much will the new 111 service cost to roll-out nationally, and how much will it save the NHS?
- What will be the make-up of clinical staff to non-clinical staff in the new 111 service?
- Will the NHS Direct website also be scrapped?’
Mr Burnham criticises the lack of consultation before Mr Lansley revealed NHS Direct’s fate, claims NHS Direct has ‘saved the NHS £213m' and complains there is no evidence to support national 111 rollout.
Editor’s blog: NHS Direct: goodbye or good riddance?