NHS Direct anger9th August 2006
NHS Direct staff in England are considering industrial action because of a plan that includes closing 12 centres and proposes cutting a total of 789 posts, 573 through redundancies and 216 through "natural turnover".
NHS Direct has said that the expansion of some of its call centres would also create 376 new posts, making the total number actually lost around 400 out of approximately 3,000.
The plans also include reducing the staff skill mix from 66 per cent of frontline staff to just 50 percent, and with a further 19 NHS Direct centres â€œunder reviewâ€?.
NHS Direct is looking to save Â£15 million from its budget. A spokeswoman for NHS Direct said the proposals were designed to "make us more effective and efficient".
The RCN and Unison have submitted evidence to NHS Direct, criticising its proposals. They say the plans 'lack proper thought and planning and could lead to increased clinical risk in services, greater pressure on A&E and other services, and longer waiting times.'
Beverly Malone, RCN General Secretary said: â€œThis is a nurse-led success story, admired across the world, yet, we could see it dismantled with little thought or planning. NHS Direct staff morale is at rock bottom and they feel understandably angry and let down by their employer.â€?
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