Close Search

Thousands of jobs – amounting to around 30-40 per cent of posts across NHS England, Health Education England and NHS Digital – will be cut over the next year as the organisations are merged, it has been announced.

Plans for the merger of all three arm’s-length bodies into NHSE were due to be set out to the NHSE board publicly today, and staff informed.

They say the estimated impact is a total reduction of between 30 and 40 per cent of whole time equivalent posts across NHSE, HEE, NHSD and some roles which have transferred from Public Health England. Based on 20,000 current roles, this will mean a reduction of 6,000-8,000 posts.

The restructure and post reductions will take place by April 2024, although NHSE, HEE and NHSD are due to merge legally in April next year.

The note from NHSE chief Amanda Pritchard to staff says that, as well as combining “all NHS data, digital services and workforce functions”, “we will bring together our corporate services and integrate currently separate NHS England and Health Education England regional teams”.

The organisations “will review all our national programmes to ensure effective, streamlined delivery of key priorities and consider new ways of enabling sustainable improvement”. They will also “review which functions we can delegate to [integrated care systems] and from national to regional teams” to “build on the delegation of direct commissioning functions [of primary care and specialised services], transferring roles to the wider system and explore what other functions would best be delegated or transferred locally”.

A top-level structure has been decided and separate directorates will now design their structures. One well-placed source said this was due to happen by September, with recruitment into the new roles beginning after that, but NHSE indicated different parts of the restructure would happen to different timetables.

Ms Pritchard told staff the organisations are “restricting external recruitment, with immediate effect” and “will explore how all three organisations can offer voluntary redundancy schemes from this autumn”. NHSE has not specified whether any compulsory redundancies are expected or planned.

Ms Pritchard, who is also writing to ICS leaders about the changes today, said: “Based on our initial work, we expect that, by the end of 2023-24, the new single organisation will be at least 30 per cent, and up to 40 per cent, smaller than the current combined size of NHS England, Health Education England and NHS Digital. We will take account of any vacancies we have.”

In her note to staff, she said they had “told me that you are often frustrated by the complexity and bureaucracy that characterise some parts and activities of our organisation, concerns consistently raised by our colleagues delivering frontline care. Creating the new NHS England will mean a smaller, combined organisation. This means we can build a high performing organisation that addresses these frustrations and focuses on where we do, uniquely, add value”.

She said: “We are creating a new NHS England as we emerge from a pandemic which required us to rapidly, but temporarily, expand the size of our organisations.

“And we have also created new integrated care systems who need the space to lead at local level, working alongside our seven regions. This move to system working is important and, to maximise its potential, we must adapt to ensure we lead the NHS as effectively as possible to deliver its core purpose of high-quality services for all.

“The new NHS England will still have a vital role, but it will be more focused on enabling and supporting change through an organisation that can speak with a single national voice, remove duplicative activities, and model this effective joint working.”

She continued: “We need to reduce the size of our organisation, so that we are focused on enabling and supporting change and empowering systems to lead locally. This means being rigorous about the activity our new organisation undertakes. We need to simplify how we work across the new organisation and how we work with the wider NHS.

“As the NHS maintains its recovery from the pandemic, and the economic position across the country is tighter, we also need to continue to ensure our resources are used as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

Read full article

Source: HSJ

Date: 8 July

Posted in News on Jul 08, 2022

Back to News