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Nurse angered by 111 plans
A NURSE, who was forced to take redundancy when the new 111 service was introduced, has hit out as NHS bosses now look for a new provider.
The controversial phoneline, which is used when residents need help but not in a 999 emergency, hit the headlines again last week as current provider NHS Direct said the service was ‘financially unsustainable’.
Triage nurse Nicola McDonough had worked for the Warrington GP out-of-hours service for 16 years but left her job after NHS Direct took over the service in March and transferred staff contracts to a Bolton call centre.
The 58-year-old from Cinnamon Brow says many now feel they have been made redundant unfairly.
She added: “Following the revelations about 111 going out for tender I’m feeling angry, livid, utterly deflated and absolutely furious.
“There was little consultation and most staff opted to take redundancy as Bolton was too far to travel.
“Warrington was extremely lucky to have such a first class service run by very experienced and very knowledgeable nurses.
“In other words clinicians rather than staff following algorithms which make it impossible to treat patients as individual human beings.
“We could see that it was going to fail even before it was launched very hastily and with no thought of the serious implications to patient care and safety.
“At no point has the media mentioned the loss of employment of very skilled nurses and the millions of pounds of taxpayers money gone down the drain in this debacle.”
Nicola added the money-saving service is proving to be a failure as A&E departments across the country have reported a surge in attendances since its inception.
Dr Andy Davies, chairman of Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group, said 111 is ‘saving money for Warrington every day’.
He added: “Since the 111 helpline was introduced, we have seen the referral rate to GP ‘out of hours’ reduce by 50 per cent.
“This saving means that doctors and nurses who would usually be speaking to patients over the phone could now be employed to assess ill people at the primary care urgent care unit.”
He added the unit, in Warrington Hospital’s A&E department, is seeing one in five people who arrive at A&E with 97 per cent of patients being seen, treated and discharged back home the same day.
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