Jamie Reed MP, Labour's Shadow Health Minister, responding to the warning letter from the British Medical Association over the new NHS 111 service, said:
“Senior doctors don't make these warnings lightly. We are just four days away from David Cameron's NHS re-organisation coming into force but worrying questions over patient care standards persist.
“Where it has been trialled, the new NHS 111 advice line is failing to answer large numbers of calls and some patients are even asked to phone back later.
“The popular NHS Direct service is being replaced to cut costs - calls to the new service will no longer be handled by qualified nurses and doctors have started questioning the quality of advice.
“Desperate patients, unable to get the advice they need, are left with no option but to turn to A&E - waiting lists are growing with patients who really don't need to be there, leaving all patients waiting longer.
“Ministers must focus on resolving these problems so patient safety is not put at risk.”