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McKay: More jobs in system than staff at risk

There are likely to be more jobs in new NHS organisations than there are people in posts being axed, HSJ has been told.

However redundancies are still expected because the remaining staff do not necessarily have the right skills or live in the right part of the country.

Sir Neil McKay, the senior responsible officer for the human resources transition, told HSJ: “In overall terms we believe there are currently more jobs than there are people at risk.”

He said natural wastage and voluntary redundancy schemes had cut the numbers of staff affected by the transition to below the level of jobs expected from April 2013 – estimated at around 48,000 to 50,000.

“On one level it looks theoretically possible for everyone to get a job, but in practice we know that is not the case. Some people won’t have the skills necessary for a particular job, or there might be a geographical mismatch.”

The finance and analytic functions were two areas where there were likely to be more jobs than people in the NHS with the skills to do them, Mr McKay said. However, he was not able to identify any skills areas where there were more staff than jobs.

In the south of England there were likely to be more jobs than people, while the opposite is the case in the north, the north west in particular.

NHS staff “affected” by the transition will receive letters before the end of the year telling them whether they had a job in the new system, or whether they were at risk of redundancy. A “job matching” exercise, designed to identify where there are roles in the new system equivalent to posts people already have, is currently underway.

A year ago, Sir Neil - the chief executive of NHS Midlands and East - pledged that staff would be told of their “expected destination” by the end of January 2012, in a bid to give workers some certainty over their future.

However, even those staff told they have not been matched to a role in a new organisation could have the chance to apply for jobs between January and March 2013, when many posts will be recruited.

“I would be confident that many people being told they’re at risk [in their December letter] will find jobs in the new year… a number of people I’m absolutely certain will get a job.”

Sir Neil estimated that “more than half” of the jobs in the new system would be filled through the job matching process.

He would not put a number on the expected level of redundancies, saying the picture would only become clear in January when job matching was expected to be completed.

The NHS Commissioning Board announced last week that it expects to complete job matching or internal competition for 98 per cent of roles by the end of the year.

Sir Neil said that for the system as a whole the picture might not be as strong, but was “fairly confident it will be into the 90s”.

Readers' comments (40)

  • The reality is that this has been one of the worst conducted HR processes in the NHS's history and David Nicholson should be ashamed of what people have been put through on his watch. We will start the new era with a badly produced system full of shell shocked people and another round of rapid changes once the true extent of the dysfunctional design and fill of structures is understood. There have also been a lot of old scores settled and favouritism in this process, and a lot of SHA and PCT staff who have been discriminated against because of perceptions and prejudice.

    The last two and a half years since the reforms were announced have set the NHS back dramatically and so will the next two and a half as all this comes out in the wash. Fair to say the NHS will then have had five years of purgatory and we don't know what the future beyond that will hold, but we do know it will probably begin with a new government that needs to think very seriously about how it repairs the damage without yet another round of reforms that put people through unnecessary change. It is time that politicans and the NHS top team started thinking about how to lead and support people as an alternative to where we are now.




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  • Roy Lilley

    I would not wish to contradict a Knight of the Realm but if my postbag is anything to go by this, in no way, reflects the chaos, angst and miserable fumbled mishandling on the ground. I have letter after letter from people who have been bullied, overlooked, lied to and left behind. Processes have been delayed, badly handled, obscured and made incomprehensible. There are also patently obvious fiddle going on with grades to favour the very people who are supposed to be running this debacle fairly. I had one person tell me they were give 30 mins notice to reapply for their job. I get letters, everyday, from time served staff at their wits end to know how to pay their mortgage.
    In all my time in the NHS I do not think I have seen a more poorly executed wilfully dishonest process that has handles the future of good people so badly. Frankly I think McKay should hang his head in shame at the mess he has made of this.

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  • Harry Longman

    Lansley's blaming of "the management" as a whole back in July 2010 has come home to roost. Sure, things needed to improve, as ever, but the demolition of the old house to build a new one out of the same bricks was bound to be an utter disaster. And we won't know for years whether the new edifice is any better, or even cheaper.
    Sorry to say I'm not surprised. But I do feel for all those affected at the human level, most of whom won't have the benefit of a working wife as I had when redisorganised out of the NHS.

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  • I don't expect we can expect any resignations to come from this. The people at the top of the NHS are just shameless in their application of double standards (or no standards at all) and then act surprised when the wider NHS reflects their style of 'leadership' and we get the likes of Mid Staffs.

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  • HR process has been the worst and the handling of job matching unfair and inconsistent.

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  • I agree with everyhting said previously and we ought to be able to do something about it. Maybe a petition calling for David Nicholson and his cronies to resign? However I do feel the NHS has manged to progress despite the chaos and that is a fantastic tribute to the staff who have tried to keep things improving despite the inevitable pressures on them personally.

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  • That this process has been a complete disaster will come as no surprise to anyone who witnessed the shambolic performance at a recent PAC hearing

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  • I don't like to jump on the bandwagon but I will.

    I haven't yet been impacted by all of this although I'm sure my turn will come, but I know several people who have been and I am shocked at how badly they have been treated and how easily good people are being disgarded.

    I also know that behind the scenes some people are getting new roles without an advert ever going out or any kind of process being followed in order to protect those are perceived to be of value.

    Now value is an interesting concept because the key word here is perceived. Often a person does not need to actually add value, what they need to do is have fantastic skills in selling themselves or saying the right things to the right people. What they actually do is often a completely different matter.

    Such a shame to see good people who have done genuinely great work and put the soul in to the NHS being disgarded the way some have been, at the expense of those who just say the right things (but don't always do the right thing).

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  • I agree with everyone. Morale is rock bottom. In my PCT we are losing people at all levels, going off to new jobs without joy or celebration, but because they haven't got a job in the future or can't risk the uncertainty. Quite a few are leaving the NHS completely. I'm pretty resilient but with no matched role in the new organisation, I'm struggling with the idea that the CCG structure consultation won't even start till about May. It feels like this has been going on forever. The uncertainty is very damaging to staff morale- those with a match aren't guarranteed it will stay that way. We are told that things are changing very fast, but somehow this is not accompanied by any updates. I really do fear for the NHS in the future. This is a mess.

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  • Damn lies and statistics for the press.

    There may be a "number" of Band 3 and 4 jobs left in the South West, but this this doesn't offer much comfort to those on higher bands elsewhere.

    Please Sir, may I have more gruel...

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  • I have been in the NHS 16 years and can truly say that this reorganisation is the worst that I have been through. Not only in terms of how it has been organised and implemented but also, the outcomes required by the new H&SC Act could have been achieved in other (lot easier) ways.

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  • I'm all for Anon 11.53! They should be ashamed!

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  • Annon 11.57: You say
    'I also know that behind the scenes some people are getting new roles without an advert ever going out or any kind of process being followed in order to protect those are perceived to be of value. ' This has always been the case in the NHS!

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  • This is cause this gov preaches honesty, accountability and transparency. There is none of that at present - I was made redundant and applied for a few jobs with no luck (do get interviews but no jobs). Also quite a few establishments will not even give feedback to non shortlisted candidates and HR are dreadful from all points of view. Apart from that - no health without mental health. By the way I am a BME with 2 Uni degrees...

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  • After 8 years of being the EPRR expert in my County I have been subjected to this farce that is the transition into the new organisations. The HR process has been a nightmare for me. After not being successful in securing the Head of EPRR role in my LAT because I was not deemed strategic enough but being the operational planning expert I find myself without work being forced to apply for roles I niether want or can reasonably demonstrate I could be proficient at. It was my understanding the profile of EPRR was being lifted but my experience is; it is unsuitably resourced for the future locally, it has a strategic leader but no qualified troops to deliver the agenda appropriately. I have worked so hard over the last 8 years to strengthen my organisations resilience and partnership working with my LRF yet come the 31st March this will be destroyed overnight! I really don't want to stick around whilst the NHS I have loved to serve is brought to its knees by its so called leaders!

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  • At the risk of being flamed, I'll post this anyway. I've been through all the unpleasantness and witnessed really good people treated appallingly which has given me no confidence in the new architecture or those "leading" it. Your NHS experience is a very valuable commodity. I'm not suggesting to sell it to the highest bidder like a VC funded start up who offer silly money but then it all goes pear shaped a few months later and you're left without a job - twice - but have a look at LinkedIn. Yes there are interim jobs there but we can't all live out of a suitcase. But type in "market access" and look at the jobs that come up. Don't assume that just because you're not a pharmacist or nurse you can't apply, look at the job spec. If you understand commissioning or programme management in healthcare, there are pharma companies out there who would benefit from your expertise. They are not sales roles, it's not about being a drug rep, these are senior posts where understanding contracting or financial flows or care pathway re-design or service/ project management (etc) are essential. I've been doing this for 5 years now and much as I miss my colleagues in the NHS and am nostalgic for the good old days when bullying wasn't quite so rife, I've been able to pay my bills and not just survive, but thrive. Good luck and best wishes to all.

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  • What a complacent article in hsj! Totally agree with all comments here. "More jobs than people" - but what jobs? Isn't this the government phrase in the face of rising unemployment? People being squeezed into lower bands or matched to jobs because the grade 'sort of fits' with no regard to skills or function. "Not able to identify any skills areas where there are more people than jobs"! That's because people are being forced into the wrong roles and jobs are being protected for some on a whim of favourtism, ie: 'home worker' status for some; 'geographically in the wrong area' for others. Appalling.

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  • I would highly recommend that all NHS staff join a suitable Union immediately. Then you will have skilled and knowledgable people to ask advice from, and to represent you at your 1:1 etcs. You have to realise that HR staff are on the side of the Trust -- you need someone on your side too. Be wise, and be prepared, and then you too may have a happy new year.

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  • I am one of the many people who has received a "Christmas card" from the HR department in the form of an at risk of redundancy letter this week. This whole process is a disgrace and has been carried out appallingly. Particular memorable incidents include:
    - inconsistent matching processes in different areas despite there being one national process
    - the delay in production of clinical network and NCB structures so that staff working in those allocated areas were literally abandoned whilst all others around them went for job matching and first bite of the cherry
    - loss in corporate memory and expertise as highly skilled staff found work elsewhere and not in the NHS
    - being expected to attend for interview within 24 hours notice
    - lack of written communication on matching and job offers
    - broken promises of bases and hot desks for staff with commitments now having to travel further (2 hours each way every day minimum)
    - spending the majority of my working week on dealing with HR issues

    I am, however, really thankful that I have just managed to beat the fiasco that is the system with its herd mentality of pooling and matching and treating people like unwanted christmas presents - by jumping ship, finding a new health economy and job of my choice- and a new employer. I am now one of the lucky ones and focusing on supporting my team who are still displaced.

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  • All of the above is what hsj should be reporting on not the soft reporting of an interview as an exclusive.

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