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NHS Direct has launched a text messaging service providing details of local health services. The pilot is linked to the already-available information service on Freeview digital TV, which was launched in December.

Send a text message to 61121 containing the name of the service required and a postcode and a response will be sent back with information about the closest services to that address. The information includes the address and telephone number of the service, and its distance from the provided postcode.

"It enables people to access health information on the go," NHS Direct commercial director Ronnette Lucraft enthused. "To start with, we’re launching the service as a pilot through our Freeview digital TV service, available on channel 108, to test the technology and gauge usage before promoting it to a wider audience."

Further developments are planned, including health alerts and the option to leave feedback. Text messages to 61121 are charged at standard rates, but the responses are covered by NHS Direct. ®

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