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Union fury as King's Lynn hospital tests transcription in the Philippines

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Union leaders have slammed Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital after it began exploring the outsourcing of transcription work to the Philippines.

QEH officials have confirmed they are running a “small-scale pilot” of a system which they say is widely used in the NHS.

But officials from the trade union Unison have branded it a “sell-off" which they claim isn't in the public interest.

QEH General Views of the outside of the hospital (21116505)
QEH General Views of the outside of the hospital (21116505)

Regional organiser Peter Passingham said: “It almost defies belief that hospitals are looking to ship work overseas and funnel NHS cash out of our economy.

“We’ve made it perfectly clear to QEH bosses that we’re implacably opposed to this NHS sell-off, it’s clearly not in the interests of patients or staff.

“It’s a sad indictment of the state of NHS finances that hospitals are even considering this as a cash-saving measure. Our health service desperately needs proper funding to get out of this mess.”

But Liz Sanford, the hospital’s acting director of finance and resources, said the plan would not affect any Lynn staff.

She said: “We have launched a small-scale pilot to test digital dictation for typing clinical letters, part of which involves exploring a model widely used across the NHS which is to outsource transcription services to the Philippines.

“The pilot is taking place over a six-week period, and involves the review of 400 letters for each of the three models we are trialling, including digital transcription and digital dictation and voice recognition.

“The outsourcing is fully Information Governance compliant as data centres are based in the UK.

“We will evaluate any quality or financial benefits at the end of the pilot, and no jobs will be affected as a result of this pilot.”

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