Ambulance Service Association director Liz Kendall is right when she suggests a non-urgent phone number to sit alongside 999 is necessary. Like her organisation, we also think a single number for urgent care is needed.

However, we disagree that there is a need for a pilot. NHS Direct provides a single non-emergency number that delivers a clinically robust single point of access with connections to over 100 healthcare providers and a directory of local services. No other provider in England could equal the capability, safety and connectivity of NHS Direct, which delivers a single point of contact for non-emergency health needs.

Matt Tee, chief executive, NHS Direct