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Fears Over Cornwall's Out of Hours Doctors Service

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10:54am 25th January 2012

There is a warning cuts to Cornwall's out of hours doctors service will hit patient care.

It is as nurses working for SERCO are consulted over their jobs.

The Royal College of Nursing claims hours will be cut by 48 percent.
It says around half of nurses could lose their jobs and those that are left will have to re-apply.

Unions fear that will be with new conditions and a pay cut.

South West representative Sue Matthews said:

"A non-nurse will make a decision about whether or not this is an emergency that needs a doctor or an ambulance or that they can give advice from what is just a crib sheet. So, the nursing staff are very concerned that patients won't get appropriate professional clinical advice at a point when a person or the family really needs it."

"SERCO has just got the contract again and obviously have to achieve particular standards that are set out by NHS Cornwall as the commissioners of the service. It's difficult to see how having won that contract how they can now say they can deliver on that service by cutting nursing and therefore the professional advisory service by 50%."

"So, we're concerned about the delivery of patient care for the future and obviously for the employment of our members"

Karl Cole, Regional Director for Serco Health said:

"The Cornwall Urgent Out of Hours service will soon benefit from the NHS Pathways System which has been specifically designed to improve patient experience, so that in most cases just one phone call is required and patients don't need to wait to be called back, and to improve the management of such services."

"The effective implementation of this system requires a review of current staffing models which is why we are undertaking a consultation exercise with relevant members of staff. At this stage, there is nothing further we can add until the consultation process has been completed."

10:54am 25th January 2012

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