NHS 111 pilot sites are directing one in three callers to the service to contact their GP, new figures show.
Data on the performance of four pilot sites for the non-urgent emergency care number, in County Durham and Darlington, Lincolnshire, Luton and Nottingham, show 42% of callers are told to attend primary care with their complaint.
The vast majority of those – 33% of all callers – are told to attend general practice.
The figures, published today, show that in June there were 33,632 calls to the 111 service. Scaled up, this would represent 12 million calls per year across England – with nearly four million patients then referred back to their GP.
The Department of Health plans to expand the 111 service across England by April 2013, and NHS documents reveal the next phase is likely to be in London.
Plans released by NHS London under the Freedom of Information Act show NHS Croydon, as part of the South West London cluster, has submitted a business plan to pilot the service.
Pilots have already been approved in NHS Hillingdon and the inner North West London cluster of NHS Kensington & Chelsea, NHS Hammersmith and Fulham and NHS Westminster.
NHS North West will also roll out the 111 number across the region from September this year.