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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round of NHS and healthcare stories

Axe falls at NHS Direct
NHS Direct, the nurse-led telephone and internet advice service, is planning to cut hundreds of jobs and close more than 20 per cent of its call centres in England to save money. Under the proposals 789 jobs will be lost, 573 through redundancies and 216 through `natural turnover', and 12 smaller NHS Direct centres will close, although a number of remaining centres will be expanded. While the move would result in significant job losses, NHS Direct has said that the expansion of some centres will create around 370 news jobs, putting the actual number of job losses at around 400. The 12 centres due to close are in Bolton, Brighton, Cambridge, Chester, Chorley, Croydon, Doncaster, Kensington, Preston, Southport and York. Workers unions believe that job cuts at the advice line, which has been hailed as a successful innovation, are short sighted and would put immediate pressure on GP surgeries and A&E departments.

Counting the cost of heart disease
Heart disease is costing the UK economy £29bn each year in healthcare spending and lost productivity, according to research. Results of the study, carried out by Oxford University's Health Economics Research Centre and published in specialist journal, Heart, revealed that the UK spends more on cardiovascular disease than any other EU country. In 2004, the cost of heart disease to the NHS was £16bn, while 69 million working days were lost, according to researchers who based their calculations on all UK residents with diagnosed cardiovascular disease in 2004. Hospital in-patient care is the biggest drain on financial resources, costing £10bn, while drugs costs £3bn. With the continued increase in obesity, experts believe that the cost to the NHS of heart disease will rise.

30th September 2008

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