Mr Burnham said: "NHS Direct is a valued service that helps tens of thousands of people every day and takes pressure off A&E.
Over the last decade, it has played an important role in the improvements in patient care in the NHS.
NHS Direct is handling more than 4,000 calls a week from people suffering from suspected norovirus, figures showed today.
The number seeking help for diarrhoea and vomiting has been rising in recent weeks as the virus begins to take hold throughout the UK.
It is yet more evidence that Andrew Lansley is on a vindictive mission to break up the NHS, ruthlessly dismantling services before alternatives are in place.
Helen Young, chief nurse at NHS Direct, said: "It's not unusual to see an increase in the number of people contracting norovirus at this time of the year and NHS Direct has vast experience of helping people manage the unpleasant symptoms.
"In most cases people can follow advice that allows them to treat their symptoms at home and this new health and symptom checker is a great way for patients to get the advice they need to help them get better as quickly as possible." The checker is at
In November, NHS Direct received a total of 17,700 calls about these symptoms, which are most often caused by norovirus.
It is the highest number of calls per month since March and is in line with expectations for the time of year.