UK critics slam ‘cheapskate’ NHS plan for Indian call centres

January 4th, 2011 - 12:07 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 4 (ANI): A plan by NHS that will result in all hospital appointments calls being outsourced to Indian call centres has been slammed by critics as ‘cheapskate’.

Managing director John Neilson has suggested saving money by sending swathes of administration work to Delhi, Bombay and other cities, but critics are furious over the plan.

The reason? The move could put people’s confidential medical records in danger, and could lead to misdiagnoses because Indian call centre staffs are unlikely to know how the NHS works.

A report revealed earlier this week revealed that putting this plan in action could save the NHS an expenditure of a billion pounds.

The study, by NHS Shared Business Services, which attempts to drive efficiency across the service, found shocking examples of waste including eight NHS trusts paying 19 different prices for the same pacemaker - squandering 750 pounds a time.

“We would have huge concerns about this. If medical records are to be stored outside of the UK, you would have less control over your data,” the Daily Mail quoted Helen Wilkinson, of the Big Opt Out, which urges people to opt out of a national NHS database, as saying.

And Geoff Martin, of pressure group Health Emergency, described it as a ‘cheapskate option’.

“The last thing you want when you have a serious illness is to have to ring a call centre halfway round the world,” he said. (ANI)

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