UP to 200 NHS jobs at risk at Wakefield call centre

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UP to 200 NHS staff could lose their jobs at a call centre in Wakefield, it is feared.

Unions are worried that the closure of the city’s NHS Direct call centre could see dozens of job cuts and a reduction in services for patients.

The future of the centre, at Wakefield 41 Industrial Estate, is uncertain after NHS Direct did not win most of the contracts to provide a new NHS telephone advice service, 111.

The centre, which employs 213 people, could close, along with those in Bristol, Sheffield, Nottingham, Hull, Stafford, Chelmsford and Newcastle, with the loss of 1,500 jobs, Unison fears.

Unison national officer Michael Walker said: “Axing dedicated hard-working nurses is never a good idea at any time, but this will directly impact on patient care. There is no doubt that patients will suffer as a result of this move.”

NHS direct said reports all the sites would close were not correct. Current staff could be given the chance to work for the new 111 services for other providers like ambulance services and GP surgeries.

Home working could be an option for some nurses.

NHS Direct has confirmed that six of its other UK sites will remain open. Nick Chapman, its chief executive, said: “Press reports that suggest NHS Direct has announced that it is closing a large number of sites are incorrect. We have not confirmed that any sites are closing.

“At this stage we have confirmed which sites we will be keeping open to deliver NHS 111 in the areas where we have been commissioned to provide the service.

“The future of other NHS Direct sites has not been decided. We are in discussion with the department of health and the NHS Commissioning Board about the future of other non-111 services that we could be asked to deliver before making decisions.”