Decade of diligence at NHS

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10 members of staff from NHS Direct’s Milton Keynes contact centre are celebrating 10 years of service to patients.

NHS Direct has a total of 225 staff who have completed 10 years continuous service this year. Milton Keynes staff were brought together with colleagues from contact centres in their region to mark the occasion and receive thanks for their long service.

Staff reminisced about how things have changed in 10 years. Back in 2001 around 13,000 calls a day were handled by NHS Direct across England. In 2011 this figure has almost doubled, with the service now handling around 25,000 calls a day. This includes calls to its helpline - 0845 46 47 – as well as commissioned services delivered locally and nationally.

Staff have provided health information and advice through major health scares including foot and mouth disease, SARS virus, bird flu, swine flu, and the polonium incident in London. Looking to the future, NHS Direct expects its long-serving staff to contribute their skills and experience to delivering the new NHS 111 service when it is rolled out nationally in April 2013.

For the first time this year, NHS Direct has also awarded 17 members of staff with ‘value awards’, recognising staff who display NHS Direct’s organisational values in their working lives. Staff were asked to nominate colleagues under six value categories including - ‘we care’, ‘we deliver’, ‘we think ahead’ and ‘we empower.’ Winners included those people who go above and beyond what is required of them to support either their colleagues or patients.

Mike Daly is Director of Operational Development at the Milton Keynes contact centre, he said: “Having worked for over 30 years in the NHS, I can honestly say that NHS Direct has been the most enjoyable part of my career. It’s a creative and pioneering service, full of committed and energetic people. It has faced incessant change, and continues to push the frontiers of what can be done for people through the phone and the web.

“I’ve most enjoyed the challenges of getting things done more effectively, quickly, efficiently and economically. Doing this whilst making sure that patients remain satisfied with the experience and outcomes we provide has been very rewarding.”

Nick Chapman, Chief Executive of NHS Direct, said: “Our staff do an outstanding job supporting patients either directly on the phone or working behind the scenes. The staff who were honoured at the awards ceremony for their 10 years with NHS Direct, and those nominated by their colleagues for their exceptional contribution, are among the best in the NHS – congratulations to them all.”