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Home working for NHS Direct staff

16th June 2010

The results of a pilot project by NHS Direct could lead to many healthcare staff doing their jobs from their own homes.

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Over 3,000 staff are employed by NHS Direct to offer phone advice and support. The organisation has shut down a centre in Portsmouth so that staff are able to work from home.

The outcome of the pilot will be presented to the board of NHS Direct in July.

The review of the pilot will explore whether home working could help towards acheiving the £20 million in savings that the organisation needs to make this year.

Nick Chapman, chief executive of NHS Direct, informed E-Health Insider that they began to allow 11 people to work from their homes at the start of March at one of their small centres.

"In this instance [we were talking about] a small number of workers who worked on an industrial estate, often alone at night, and when the lease was coming up they simply said 'can't we do this from home?'"

Chapman said that working from home had a number of advantages, including reduced commuting time and feeling more satisfied with work.

"I think that before, workers often felt like cogs in a machine. Our staff turnover is around 25% per year. McKesson are supporting a similar service in Australia, and they literally have a waiting list of people wanting to work", Chapman added.

 

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