The chaos engulfing the new NHS 111 advice service is the latest example of the fragmentation of the health service by a privatisation-obsessed government, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Monday 29 July).
Unite national officer for health Barrie Brown said: “There was no logic for the government to replace the successful single service NHS Direct, which was highly rated by users, with a fragmented NHS 111 set up with 46 different contracts.
“The impetus here is not patient care, but cost-cutting by a government whose foot is firmly on the privatisation accelerator.
“Health secretary Jeremy Hunt needs to show a modicum of leadership and step in to sort out this mess of his government’s making.
“What is needed is a unified, well-funded service staffed by professional clinicians that gives worried callers confidence that they will receive the best advice possible. This currently is not the case.”
The latest crisis in the NHS 111 imbroglio flared up after NHS Direct said that the tranche of contracts it was awarded under the NHS 111 framework were financially unsustainable.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.