Now NHS Direct has been awarded NHS 111 contracts by nine PCTs covering over 30% of England's population.
However not-for-profit GP-led organisations have won just five of the 26 NHS 111 contracts awarded so far.
This map shows where NHS 111 contracts have been awarded by type of provider:
View NHS 111 providers in a larger map
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NHS Direct was chosen as preferred provider for four of the larger NHS 111 contracts in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Mersey; and Cumbria and Lancashire. NHS Direct has also been selected to provide the service in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Somerset, North Essex and Sutton and Merton.
NHS Direct is also working in partnership with GP out-of-hour providers Bromley Healthcare and Grabadoc for the South East London bid.
NHS Direct chief executive Nick Chapman said: 'We are delighted to have been selected as the preferred provider for the NHS 111 service in a number of areas so far. We are looking forward to working with those commissioners and local NHS organisations to provide the NHS 111 service for their patients.'
On announcing NHS Direct as the preferred provider for the West Midlands, senior responsible officer for NHS 111 Stephen Jones said: ‘We believe that NHS Direct is the right choice for the West Midlands. Their bid was very strong and they have the right approach for this service, which was clearly confirmed in the tender evaluation process.
‘We are confident that we have made the right choice and we will work closely with them to ensure that the hand over to the new service is as smooth as possible.’
According to a DH consultation on the licensing of providers, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will commission out-of-hours services, including NHS 111, on behalf of the NHS Commissioning Board. But a survey carried out by NHS Alliance earlier in the year revealed that CCGs felt left out of NHS 111 development.