Jobs at risk at NHS Direct

Unions warn up to 1,000 positions could be cut, but a spokeswoman for the NHS Direct service described the suggestion as scaremongering.

NHS Direct said it would try to keep the losses to a minimum as part of a drive to remain in financial balance and respond to demand for web services.

Public sector union Unison warned that if as many jobs were lost as had been suggested it would “gut” the service.

Ann Grain, interim head of external affairs, acknowledged that in theory up to 1,000 jobs could go, but said the organisation was aiming to “keep them to a minimum”.

“We have to make the organisation fit for purpose. We have 54 call centres and when the website is the growth area we have to ask whether we need them all.

“It is difficult to say that the numbers the unions are saying won’t happen at this stage because we do not have the firm proposals yet. That will come next month.

“However, we are aiming to keep them to a minimum and are likely to recommend increasing the number of front-line staff answering calls. It is scaremongering to say 1,000 jobs are going.”

In the last month NHS trusts have announced 4,000 job cuts in a bid to tackle growing financial pressures.

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