Other bloggers, as well as DZ, have been commenting for some time on the obsession government and management seem to have for reducing costs by having care delivered by less & less qualified people. NHS Direct was a prime example, getting nurses to do the work of doctors on the cheap. Undeterred by the disasters that NHS Direct was responsible for, the powers that be felt they could have the phone advice system run even more cheaply by employing people with no medical qualifications at all.
That they thought they could get away with this shows just how little regard they have for the public's intelligence. People weren't fooled for long. They knew full well that the quality of advice they would get from a 17 year old school leaver with no qualifications was such that they may as well ask the old lady next door, or the Daily Mail, or the cat.
It now looks as if the 111 phoneline is doomed before it even got off the ground. It will not be missed. Perhaps this is a step back towards true professionalism.