RCN Tees Valley branch emergency resolution passed at Congress 2012
Published: 26 June 2012
This year’s RCN Congress saw Northern region member Sue Stockdale win the support of members from across the country, when she proposed the Tees Valley branch’s emergency resolution on the future of NHS Direct.
From the same platform which keynote speaker Ed Miliband addressed Congress, Sue, who works as a nurse advisor for NHS Direct based at North Tees Hospital, called on the Department of Health to urgently rethink its abolition of NHS Direct and its replacement with the 111 service.
Sue said: “I am extremely concerned that the Government is replacing a high quality, nurse-led service with a 111 service where the majority of calls will be dealt with by call handlers with no clinical training or nursing backgrounds. Meanwhile nurses who are delivering the NHS Direct service currently are left in limbo, not knowing whether or not their jobs are going to be abolished.”
Congress agreed with the Tees Valley branch resolution, and an overwhelming 98.36% of members voted to pass the agenda. The resolution has now been integrated into the RCN’s ongoing workstream, and passed to a council committee who will decide on how best to take this issue forward.
The RCN is continuing to lobby the Government on the issue, and RCN Chief Executive Dr Peter Carter has told the Government that it “would do well to look at the long-term cost effectiveness of NHS Direct and the service it provides, rather than attempting to steamroll in a cheaper alternative that compromises patient care.”
The RCN Northern region has revealed that, in the 12 months to Feb 2012, the 111 pilot services led by NHS Direct dispatched emergency 999 ambulances to 10% of their callers, compared to 4% by NHS Direct’s 0845 46 47 service over the same period. In addition, just under 40% of 111 calls were referred to a GP classified as “same day or urgent,” compared to just over 20% by the 0845 service. The 111 pilots provided “self care advice” to less than 10% of callers, compared to a 25% rate with the 0845 service.
Congress took place at the Harrogate International Centre, from 13 – 17 May 2012. Watch and read about the key debates and speeches from the event at Congress 2012.