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1,500 NHS Direct jobs at risk of redundancy, pay cuts expected

Written on:December 6, 2023
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NHS nurses will have to endure job redundancies and pay cuts in March 2013

Around 1,500 NHS Direct jobs are likely to be cut as Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced plans to close down many of its call centres, after NHS Direct won contracts to deliver NHS 111 in one-third of the country, which would require only 850 full time staff to provide the service.

NHS 111 is the new service for people who need fast medical assistance but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS Direct currently employs around 1,900 staff or 1,525 full time equivalents.

RCN disclosed that it is currently in consultation with trade unions, jeopardising jobs of 1,482 whole-time equivalent NHS Direct staff. NHS Direct said that the job cuts would take effect in March when RCN’s consultation with trade unions ends.

NHS Direct back office staff are likely to be hit hard, while a 40% reduction in the proportion of calls handled by clinicians in NHS 111 compared to NHS Direct means significantly fewer nurses will be needed. NHS Direct estimates up to 300 more full time equivalent jobs could be saved to provide national complex health and dental information services and online services.

While NHS Direct will take charge of the 111 duties in some regions, other providers such as ambulance trusts and GP out-of-hours organisations will be running the non-emergency helpline in other areas. The move might lead to the closure of many of NHS Direct’s 30 sites in England.

The contracted NHS Direct will operate out of 12 sites compared to 30 sites. The new NHS Direct will ask senior nurse advisers, currently on a band six Agenda for Change salary, to accept a band five if they want to transfer into a similar role with NHS 111. It will also downband the health advisers from band three to a band two if they choose to stay on.


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