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NHS Direct warns 500 staff they could face redundancy

NHS Direct has warned 500 of its staff that they are at risk of redundancy in March, as the telephone helpline closes down.

In October NHS Direct announced they would cease operations entirely at the end of March 2014, and the company sent letters to staff on Monday warning them that they had three months to find alternative employment.

The staff included 60 NHS 111 staff based in Milton Keynes who had been seconded to man the national 111 winter contingency service.

A spokesperson from NHS Direct told Pulse that the vast majority of 111 staff who had been employed to cover NHS Direct’s contracts in the West Midlands, the North East and Somerset have transferred to the regional ambulance services who have taken over the delivery of 111 services.

They said: ‘The majority of our 111 staff were transferred via TUPE [Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations 2006] to other 111 providers. They continue to be employed, actually all of them – pretty much – at the same base. So they haven’t moved house they’ve just been taken over by someone else.’

‘So the other staff we have will remain in work at Milton Keynes, where they’re working on the winter contingency service, it’s those staff at Milton Keynes who are at risk of redundancy.  We don’t know if they will be made redundant. If they find further employment within the NHS then they wouldn’t be redundant.’

NHS Direct originally won bids for 11 out of 46 111 provider contracts, but a leaked report uncovered by Pulse in June called their ‘viability’ into question, and in July they announced they would be pulling out of all remaining 111 contracts, which they said were ‘financially unsustainable’.