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NHS Direct Performance Failure Causes Unwelcome Rota Changes

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NHS Direct has recently been issued with a warning and fined £1.1 million over continued failure to achieve its key performance indicators (KPIs).  At the end of March 2011, 17 out of 30 KPIs were not met.  This has led to a rota shake up, which will see part-time nurses forced to work the same amount of weekends as those who work full-time.

At present, full-time staff work five weekends out of eight.  For those who work part-time, weekend shifts are allocated on a pro-rata basis.  However, many instances of KPI failures occur at the weekends when the service is under increased demand, according to the NHS Direct Chief Executive, Nick Chapman.  Chief NHS Direct Nurse, Tricia Hamilton, says that these are necessary changes to ensure that the service reverses this non-performing trend and brings it up to the required standard.

The proposed new rotas have seen around 80 part-time triage nurses put a collective grievance in place.  The mainly band 6 nurses have their dispute at stage three of the grievance process, meaning that members of the NHS Direct board now must hold a hearing to listen to the nurse’s concerns and any recommendations they may have.

Gary Kirwin, the Royal College of Nursing’s employment relations officer says that the proposed changes are damaging morale.  Kirwin goes onto say that what is needed is for the board to listen and engage with the staff, rather than just saying ‘we will do this.’

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