NHS Direct staff should have a role to play in setting up the new 111 urgent care service which is due to replace it in 2013, according to the chief executive of the telephone triage service.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said last week during a visit to Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital Trust that NHS Direct and its phone number will go when NHS 111 was rolled out nationally.

The 111 service was officially launched last week in County Durham and Darlington, where it is being run by North East Ambulance Service Trust. Three more pilots are due to be set up later this year in Nottingham City, Lincolnshire and Luton.

In a statement NHS Direct chief executive Nick Chapman said: “When detailed plans are made to roll out the service nationally, we hope NHS Direct staff will be able to contribute their experience to the new service.”