RCN comments on continued use of NHS Direct

Published: 26 April 2013

The Royal College of Nursing has commented on the news that several NHS Direct sites will remain open for an extended period following problems with the new NHS 111 service. It has also been announced that NHS Direct nurses will no longer be downbanded.

Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said: “We are pleased that following negotiations with the RCN, NHS Direct has agreed that in order to retain its skilled and experienced workforce, there must be no downbanding of staff.

“However, news that NHS Direct will be remaining open to support NHS 111 highlights our serious patient safety concerns about NHS 111, and emphasises the need for a complete review of the service," he added.

“Since the launch of NHS 111, a number of worrying problems have come to light which have not only compromised patient safety, but have piled pressure on already over-stretched emergency departments.

“If NHS 111 is to continue without the support of NHS Direct, it must be a nationally commissioned service which is led by properly trained nurses, rather than the current fragmented model which is damaging for patients, staff and the health service as a whole.”