Lancing staff face axe as NHS signs £330m Capita contract

GV of NHS Primary Care Offices. Brooklands House, 58 Marlborough Road, Lancing Business Park, Sussex. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 050515'LP1501619 SUS-150505-183218008
GV of NHS Primary Care Offices. Brooklands House, 58 Marlborough Road, Lancing Business Park, Sussex. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 050515'LP1501619 SUS-150505-183218008
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NHS staff are facing the axe from a Primary Care Support Service (PCSS) in Lancing – after NHS bosses signed a seven-year £330m contract with private company.

More than 60 people working at the centre in Lancing Business Park are at risk of redundancy or relocation amid fears their office will close.

The shake-up is part of a national plan to cut costs by changing the way back-office administration is handled.

The £330m a year contract has been awarded to Capita who will provide the work on a national basis from September 1.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “These proposals would release substantial administrative savings to reinvest in frontline health services, and will form the basis of full consultation with the employees involved.

“We aren’t in a position to confirm numbers ahead of the consultation closing.”

In May, NHS England told staff the site would remain open after staff were told the service was under threat of closure.

Speaking at the time, Caroline Fife, regional manager for UNISON, said: “They were told the services were closing at the end of June, then nine weeks before they are told it is staying open with a reduced work force.”

She said the staff had been ‘marched to the top of the hill and down again’ quite a few times.

Although some staff took voluntary redundancy, NHS England told its employees the office was not closing.

The role of the Primary Care Support Service staff includes: managing medical records, supporting GPs, pharmacists and dentists and sending invitations about cervical and breast screenings.

A spokesman for UNISON said: “It means the annual cost of the service will fall from £68m, as stated in NHS England’s 2015-16 business plan, to £47m.

“This is planned to be driven by hundreds of redundancies and the adoption of centralised administration and technology functions.”

More than 25 offices will close with more than 700 jobs at risk.

The two NHS offices which are believed to be remaining open are in Preston, where 128 people are employed, and Leeds, which employs 48.

A spokesman for Capita said: “Capita’s proposed plans for the delivery of Primary Care Support Services – which release substantial administrative savings to reinvest in frontline health services - have yet to be finalised.

“A full and comprehensive consultation will precede any significant staffing changes.”

NHS England performs U-turn over site closure

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