NHS Direct to close call centres

A call centre in Newcastle is among 24 NHS Direct sites that are set for closure. Hundreds of jobs could be lost if the plans go ahead.

NHS on call centre closures

NHS Direct is planning to close 24 of 30 call centre across the country, meaning hundreds of jobs could be lost.

An NHS Direct spokeswoman said the company has been awarded contracts to provide the NHS 111 service for 34% of the population in England, from six of its 30 centres. She said:

"This does not necessarily mean we will be closing the other sites."

– NHS Direct spokeswoman

She added that the organisation is waiting for some decisions by the NHS Commissioning Board before the future of the other centres will be decided.

Newcastle call centre among 24 NHS Direct sites closing

A call centre in Newcastle is among 24 NHS Direct sites that will close - resulting in hundreds of jobs losses, according to union leaders.

Unison said the sites employ more than 1,500 frontline nursing and other professional staff. Other large centres that are set for closure include Bristol, Sheffield, Wakefield, Nottingham, Hull, Stafford and Chelmsford.

Michael Walker, Unison's National Officer at NHS Direct said:

"The Secretary of State for Health should step in and stop this disaster immediately. We need action and we need it now. 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."

– Michael Walker, Unison's National Officer at NHS Direct

NHS Direct answers 4.2 million calls for health advice and information for patients in England every year.

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