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Letters on PCT and SHA staff transfers sent today

Primary care trust and strategic health authority staff across England are today being sent letters explaining where their function is to be transferred to in the restructured NHS.

The letters, which were leaked to HSJ in template form last week, have been ordered by the Department of Health. The intention is to tell staff to which organisation their function is moving after PCTs and SHAs are abolished in April 2013 – but the letters stop short of promising employees a job in the new system.

As previously reported by HSJ, there are two types of letters being sent to employees. One is for staff “where there is clarity about the destination of their current function”, while the other is for use “where destination of function is yet to be determined”.

The DH also published the latest version of a spreadsheet (attached, right) showing where PCT and SHA functions are expected to transfer next year. The spreadsheet was removed from the DH website earlier today.

Unlike previous drafts of the document, whole time equivalent figures are not given for each function and no roles are marked with “no organisation claiming function”.

However, no distinction is drawn between clinical commissioning groups and commissioning support services, as those decisions will be taken locally, and many functions are still earmarked to transfer to one of several possible bodies.

A 26 January letter to PCT and SHA leaders from Sir Neil McKay, the department’s transition lead, said: “You will note that for some functions, more than one potential receiver has been identified. Where that is the case, further work is taking place to refine the function’s destinations.”

He recommended: “In the meantime, I suggest that you write to the relevant staff to indicate all potential receivers,” meaning many staff would be told their function would transfer to one of a range of bodies.

Estates and facilities staff will be transferred to NHS Property Services Ltd, the government owned company being set up to own and manage much of the PCT estate after April 2013.

However, a factsheet for NHS staff released today, said: “Due to the complexities of the estate, it is envisaged that properties and staff may transfer from PCTs in a number of waves, between September 2012 and March 2013. This is still to be confirmed.”

The factsheet also said: “The structure and location of NHS Property Services have not been fully developed as yet. However, at a national and sub national level it is intended that it will mirror the NHS Commissioning Board locations as far as possible, with further local resources where required.”

Early reactions to the letters have been lukewarm. Nicola Close, chief executive of the Association of Directors of Public Health, tweeted “got mine. Not hugely enlightening - now know I am a PH Specialist & I will be kept informed about options”.

Readers' comments (17)

  • This is helping how, exactly?

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  • Spreadsheet link does not work.

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  • Hi 5.35 - hmm, it appears to have been removed from the DH website. We've attached it on the right hand side of this page.

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  • My likely destination is 'commissioning other'! A pointless waste of paper.

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  • Yup, I have mine and a very useful PCT annex sheet which lists out the 5 places where Public Health staff could move to, alongside similar numbers for other functions...
    Nuclear fission will blast the NHS apart.

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  • this discussion surely is linked to those on todays joint editorial statement & the recent new coalition of BMA, RCN, RCM, & RCGP in calling for the scrap of cr*p!
    As someone who got out last year, reading the runes & cashing in on long service, I preserved my own mental wellbeing but I still may be a patient in the future so remain concerned at what is happening to a system which pre-election looked like it was working, broadly.
    Am more concerned that it has taken til beyond the 11th hour until key influencers have really spoken out. Is there a pervasive bullying culture in the NHS which leads even senior, seasoned folk to just accept central nonsensical mandate though however many regional tiers ?
    If that's the case the world of the NHS will get sicker before it gets better.

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  • read the DH factsheets and Q&A. what a pile of centrally led misinformed drivel. HSJ should be proud though, the official factsheet on commissioning support directs staff to the HSJ version of the leaked november guidance. You'd have thought the official final version published by the NHSCB last week would be more appropriate, but accuracy / fact doesn't seem to matter as long as Sir N can confirm all staff got a letter.

    The Q&A about the letter which staff have been pointed to also proudly pronounces that the majority of staff have had confirmation of their function's destination. I've read my letter, i know what most people got in our area, and it's clear from other comments the same is true across the country. Making that Q&A an outright lie. Why do PCTs have to push this rubbish onto their staff, it's misleading and trashes confidence in local leadership.

    From the start of Sir David's video message to the end of my cluster CEOs personal letter to me this is a sickening example of a shallow, dishonest, misleading, commitment to caring about staff and keeping them informed.

    If anyone on the NHSCB Board actually belives an ounce of what's being said about the importance of supporting and informing staff the person who insisted on this whole saga should but their hand up and clear their desk. They clearly know jack about real staff engagement or how to respectfully treat other adults. Sir Neil,whoever you are and whatever you did to get where you are this mess is proof you're out of touch. Have some respect for the people on the ground trying to lead this reorganisation, and for thousands of staff working in PCTs and SHAs. Call a halt to the misguided top down direction forcing CEOs and HR professionals to do their jobs badly but consitently. The door is that way>>>>

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  • It is one of the most laughable letters I have ever received. Someone really should cost it out. We have undoubtedly spent hundreds of thousands and probably millions of pounds just to tell staff that the confusion over the health bill means we don't know what they will be doing in future, and accopanying that with nine factsheets that tell us nothing that we didn't already know which is that the new organisations are a confused medley of functions and high risk changes; and more, that the only reason the letter is going out at all is to avoid the embarrassment of failing a self imposed deadline (although they now have the embarrassment of a laughable letter to deal with). DH and La-La reputations continue to sink into minus figures ...

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  • And what a complete waste of paper my letter was. It told my precisely nothing. I hate to think how much time and money has been wasted on it that could have been far better spent or put towards the QIPP savings. The saving grace was that they were hand delivered at the office and not posted to my home!!!

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  • I appreciate that this process was a bit of a nonsense but working for a PCT I was expecting a letter that mentioned alignment with a CCG/CSO. Instead I was aligned to "Informatics". What does this mean? I am not aware of any organisation relating to informatics except for the NHS IC. It would be most helpful if someone in the know could post an explanation.

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  • Anon 2.29pm, it depends what you do. If you're an analyst working in acute commissioning, yes, a CSU is probably where you'd expect to end up. If you're working as a public health analyst, it might be the local authority/ PHE. But CCGs had the choice of do, share or buy, so it maybe that they've chosen to buy informatics support from outside, in which case you may be TUPE'd over. Or your job might be difficult to split up across functions and you might have several options depending on the weighting. I know this report isn't very useful and the IT Strategy is due out in April after having been put back so many times, but have a browse:
    I am a little cynical and think that like estates management, the DH may look to form a company or a CIC or something different for NHS IT.
    But either way, please get advice from HR and your union rep.
    And hang in there, the private sector is a mess. I left the NHS and have been made redundant twice, and am now working as an independent, it's hard wherever you are. I wasn't looking for silly money, just more stability than endless reorganisations and to learn new skills, but be careful, the grass isn't greener, just a different shade.
    Good luck to all

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  • My letter invented a function/job role for me that doesn't even exist in my organisation!!

    This organisational change is taking way too long. I just want to either be made redundant or at least have a clue what my remit is and who I will be working for. Is that too much to ask?

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  • Anon 4.37, us old lags who can wallpaper our houses with all the different headed notepaper/ different names/ logos and whatnot over the years know that any reform is just down to your resilience. If you get fed up and leave, you might miss out. But if you stay, ditto. There's no money for redundancies til the next financial year and we need to see if they'll have another MARS or if the cash will run out. CCGs might not want to take us on, or they may be made to. So the trick in all this is to make your own choices and not let others force you into them. If you want to stay in the NHS, dig your heels in, this is the worst one ever - if not, then start planning your new life. But don't wait for a stupid letter to run your life. It's going to be this chaotic for a long time.

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  • NHS Commissioning Board meeting was live-streamed on the web yesterday. It was very informative; there'll be a 33% 'capacity reduction' in the commissioning support sector, but the remaining CSU staff will be hosted by the Commissioning Board until 2016.

    This means that the staff who find their way into the surviving functions will enjoy some degree of job security for the next four years, regardless of whether their particular CSU gets 'chosen' by the local CCGs.

    This could, of course, lead to the absurd spectacle of CSUs without any commissioning support contracts, trying to somehow keep themselves busy.

    On the other hand, pretty much all the commissioning skills and knowledge are concentrated in PCTs and SHAs. If you want any wisdom beyond "if the worst 50% could do as well as the best 25%, what a wonderful world it would be" - you need NHS managers. It's good to see that the NHSCB have done something in recognition of this.

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  • The letters were pure waste in a NHS trying to save £20bn - it is distasteful, disgraceful and verging on criminal to send something out just for the sake of saying we all had a piece of paper delivered. To those senior HR colleagues who didn't have the guts to stand up to this nonsense - shame on you for wasting resources - because that is all it is - waste. It provided no clarity at all. Had the paper been softer, I could at least have made use of it before flushing it down the toilet, which is the correct receptacle for it.

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  • I agree with many of the comments.

    My Cluster (anon 1 Feb 12.57 and 3Feb 11.46) had the good sense (& presumably shared our concern about wasting money) to send our letters electronically - so no paper was wasted - and I hope not too much admin time either.

    This was a demonstration of "DH promises kept" to keep us informed - which has spectacularly backfired.

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  • Still no letters in my PCT!

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