Senior directors at NHS Direct warned it was not safe to go live with one of its biggest NHS 111 contracts but were overruled, emails seen by HSJ revealed last week.

Sarah Calkin discusses NHS 111 by HSJ News

The emails showed discussions between senior NHS Direct figures and commissioners in the run-up to the disastrous launch of 111 in the West Midlands.

Companies that were initially interested in NHS 111 at the beginning, did not bid as they weren’t convinced of the service model they were being asked to provide.

HSJ also reported that NHS Direct is losing more than £1m a month and is likely to exit the NHS 111 market by the end of the year. A revised budget for 2013-14 is expected to be submitted to the NHS Direct board for approval on 1 July. It is widely expected this will set out plans for a managed exit from its nine NHS 111 contracts over the remainder of the year, most likely involving the transfer of contracts to ambulance trusts.

In this podcast, HSJ reporter Sarah Calkin, who has been covering the story extensively, discusses the future for NHS Direct and likely implications for NHS 111 contracts.