Fears for health jobs in prisons

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HEALTH staff cuts at North East prisons could put services at risk, it has been claimed today.

Concerns were voiced by the Sunderland-based northern branch of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), after it was revealed that up to 116 workers from healthcare provider Care UK face the axe.

Workers were put on notice of possible redundancy just eight days after the private firm controversially took over provision of NHS services for 5,150 North East inmates – including those at Frankland, Durham, Low Newton and Castington.

Staff whose jobs are threatened include senior and specialist nurses, clinical team leaders and pharmacists.

The RCN labelled the cuts a “disgrace,” and said “the scale of the redundancies raises questions about the quality and safety of the service”.

Care UK said 116 jobs would not be lost.

A spokeswoman said: “The number of posts which may have to be lost is not yet finalised, as consultation on the design of the service has only just commenced, but it will be significantly less than the numbers of staff at risk.

“The majority of the posts identified as at risk are not frontline clinical staff, but are back office and management.”