Plymouth, England, March, 2020 -- A Plymouth MP has demanded "immediate" action at an NHS 111 call centre in the city amid claims that staff are "terrified to go to work".
Luke Pollard has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying social distancing was being ignored for up to 200 staff on the Sitel Group office
He said there were reports that staff had been told to come in despite family members showing coronavirus symptoms.
Sitel and the Department for Health have been asked to comment.
Mr Pollard, shadow Environment Secretary, listed a series of "urgent concerns", saying numerous workers told him that up to 200 staff were working close together "desk to desk" on one floor.
He also said he was told there was no deep cleaning of working spaces.
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Mr Pollard is demanding that staff at NHS 111 call centres are allowed to work from home.
"From the conversations I have had with people who work on this service I believe that these practices go against your advice on social distancing and increase the chance for the virus to spread in this environment," he wrote to Mr Hancock.
"A coronavirus outbreak at this call centre would be devastating for the UK's response to the pandemic and could result in more deaths in the long term."
Earlier this week, Sitel Group directed staff to follow stricter social distancing after a reported claim that space at one of its offices had been "maxed out" due to new recruits.
An employee at one of Sitel's two sites in Stratford-on-Avon said break rooms had been crowded and some staff recruited to the helpline had been given only about an hour's training on guiding documents.
A Sitel spokesman said those allegations were "categorically untrue" and it had been "ramping up measures to protect our staff against infection, implementing social spacing as recommended and staff being asked to sanitise their hands when they enter and leave the building".
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
NHS Direct is a 24 hour health advice and information service provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in England. NHS Direct provides confidential access to medical information, guidance and reassurance through a range of interactive services. These include an expert telephone advice line and detailed web resources.
About Sitel UK:
As caring for customers becomes the differentiator that drives consumer spend, Sitel is advancing its position as a provider in outsourced customer care innovation. With over 28 years of industry experience, Sitel’s 78,000 employees support clients with CRM contact center services that provide predictable and measurable Return on their Customer Investment by building customer loyalty, increasing sales and improving efficiency. Sitel’s global solutions include customer acquisition, customer care, technical support and social media programs. Support operations span from home based agents to 110+ domestic, nearshore and offshore centers in 26 countries across North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific. Sitel manages client programs on behalf of some of the best known brands in the world in 40 languages.
Published: Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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