The community health councils in each of the first-wave pilot areas have reported positive feedback from the public. The Sheffield researchers also asked people what they thought of the service, with varied responses.

'The nurse was very patient and understanding. She asked a lot of questions and I felt she understood the problem. She seemed to have time for me.'

'It is reassuring to have this number.'

'We called in the middle of the night and were quite worried about the medical condition. They put us at ease and our minds at rest that it was not so serious as first thought.'

'I had to make three phone calls to get the help I needed. One: doctor's out-of-hours answerphone to get number for nurse. Two: speak to nurse to get doctor's emergency number.

Three: phone doctor myself.'