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RCN Congress praises NHS Direct nurses who helped at NHS 111 launch


NHS Direct nurses who have stepped into the breach following the disastrous launch of NHS 111 despite facing redundancy have been praised at the Royal College of Nursing Congress.

NHS 111 was due to replace NHS Direct’s 0845 number by 1 April in all but two small areas of England. However, at least half of the country was not ready to go fully live in time and NHS Direct nurses and call handlers have been asked to step in to help provide a contingency service.

Most frontline NHS workers are facing downbanding if they continue to work for NHS Direct to deliver the 111 service or redundancy.

RCN council member Ian Norris told Congress the RCN had been warning that the set up of NHS 111 wouldn’t work.

He said: “The nurses are still going to work to make sure we had a service to patients when they were being got rid of themselves.”

Chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said NHS Direct nurses had suffered “grievously”.

“What’s so tragic is that NHS Direct had matured into a highly effective system that was liked by the public. For some bizarre reason it was dismantled and what was put in its place was a shambles.”


Readers' comments (6)

  • All I can say is what I've thought for a long time - those who make NHS policy don't deserve the people who implement it

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  • Keith Stevenson | 23-Apr-2013 3:39 pm

    but the tax paying public deserve to have good quality service which is safe and not detrimental to their health.

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  • NHS 111 is sadly not fit for purpose. This has been known for some time. As nurses we highlighted this to commissioners and executive management. It was a car crash that could not be stopped as the powers that be kept their foot on the accelerator . Sadly when you ignore the pilot that indicated the problems then it is down to folly and ignorance to persist

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  • it is very sad that the public should have to put up with this behaviour when it is so obvious that only the clinicians know what they are talking about and their views are not taken into consideration. it need not be like this in the 21st century with all the technical advances and highly qualified healthcare workers. they suffer and so do the public.

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  • It's all a bit déjà vu for my liking. I remember similar comments at the inception of NHS Direct and now you're all mourning it's dissolution and the inception of NHS 111. Just give it a little time...
    This is the NHS after all, continuous change all at the expense of the public purse.

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  • it's ok in business to give such schemes a little time but not where human health and lives are involved.

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