The idea has DoH backing but GPs warned that it would further erode doctors' position within primary care.
Dr Peter Holden, a GPC negotiator, said that simplification would benefit patients, but warned: 'My concern is that it's being done to eventually cut GPs out of the loop.'
Lord Darzi's interim report last October said there may be benefits in adopting a three-digit number as a single point of contact. A spokesman confirmed that the DoH was currently 'looking at how this might work'.
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