It plans to start recruiting 50 extra nurses next month to expand the Birmingham Own Health scheme, a telephone helpline for patients with long-term conditions, which is operated by nurses who manage their own caseloads.
NHS Direct set up the line in 2006 with the help of Pfizer Health Solutions. Together with Humana, a company that provides guidance to PCTs on commissioning, they will extend the scheme to other trusts.
An NHS Direct spokesperson said: ‘Patients who are involved have a good lifestyle – they are well looked after. The nurses
will be employed by the NHS in the way that all of the other nurses are.’