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Redundancy threat for 3,500 NHS managers

Around 3,500 NHS managers were told over Christmas that they are at risk of redundancy, HSJ has learned.

Although estimates shared with HSJ suggest there are 5,000 to 7,000 vacancies left in the system, it is thought unlikely that all those at risk of redundancy will get jobs with new organisations. Around 600 redundancies have already been made during 2012-13, with a worst case scenario of 4,000 lay-offs taking place this year.

Staff in primary care trusts and strategic health authorities whose functions are transferring to new bodies in April were supposed to receive a letter by the end of 2012 saying whether they are at risk.

Of the 3,500 staff identified as being at risk, 1,000 are in SHAs, with the rest in PCTs.

However some of those receiving “at risk” notices have also been told that they have got a job in the new system, while HSJ heard from one manager who had not received formal notification either way.

A job matching process, designed to determine which roles would directly transfer to new organisations, was due to be completed by the end of 2012.

Senior figures believe that many staff whose roles have not been matched to posts in the new system will still find jobs through competitions for the remaining posts.

Sir Neil McKay, the senior responsible officer for the human resources transition, told HSJ last month: “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.”

However, he was “absolutely certain” that some people told they were at risk in December would still find jobs.

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

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.

HSJ understands that hundreds of staff assigned roles in new organisations are raising concerns over the new roles, where it is still not clear what the hours, locations or responsibilities will be, or where it appears that they do not match the skills or requirements of existing staff.

Those cases could progress to legal challenges or tribunals over the coming months if they are not resolved satisfactorily.

Jon Restell, chief executive of Managers in Partnership, said: “To date there’s been no active process of trying to redeploy at risk staff into jobs.

“If [the DH’s transition team] are serious about avoiding redundancies they need to spend the next four to six weeks identifying jobs that people could do locally, and where there are issues around skills they would be able to offer people training and redeployment.”

Readers' comments (36)

  • This has been such a long winded process and must be incredibly distressing and stressful for the staff involved and their families. I sincerely hope that support mechanisms have been in place throughout.

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  • Come on mechanisms ???? This process has been the most insensitive and slash and burn in the history of the NHS. As for support who from as our peers and bosses jump ship or are equally at risk. communication has been none exist ant for a lot of us.

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  • At our PCT, there are quite a few staff (including me) who have not been told either way, not told if you have a job in the new system and not been given notice either. I will be contacting MiP!

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  • Has anyone, like me, been watching over the last months as these "new" Commisioniong jobs are advertised ? If you thought like me that the old SHAs and PCTs had many post with no real worth while roles you will not be shocked to read that they are mostly being carried forward into the post SHA/PCT world. Most are Band 8 and above ! They have carried most things forward resulting in much the same central waste we had before. The "working" patient front end of the NHS struggles to make ends meet and they continue as always to cream off the top. Sad but TRUE.

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  • I have recently been appointed to a new post but am still stressed out as I am being told that I may not recieve an offer letter until March! Even those who have managed to get new jobs are still unnerved as to how safe these new posts are until contracts move in April, as funding still seems to be unstable.

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  • I received my 90 days notice before Christmas and was told that my time should now be spent on securing employmnet, the day job comes second. How many hours are spent on job applicatons now rather than getting the job done?

    More frustrating is there is actually funding for my post (secured by me during all this turmoil) but i'm still expected to apply for anything and everything as senior managers havent put my job in the structure so there is nothing for me to apply for (or slotted into). So in the meantime i might get something else but then my current job, which i love, will have lost my skills! It's a ridiculous roundabout!

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  • One cant help wondering just how much this unnecessary top-down change will cost The figures of staff affected above gives a glimpse of just how large the changes are but the gains have yet to be proven. The disruption and stress will continue well beyond vesting date. For many GP's this new roil will take them into uncharted waters and how will they cope with not being the patients' 'good guy'?

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  • Well, hello: & welcome to how it is in the Real World. Anon 1.26pm: you're so right. Anyone whose face didn't fit was transferred to our local SHA - kicked upstairs, & it's the same with the new arrangements.
    Helen: I've been made redundant 3 times in my life. Focus on getting another post, and if that takes you 8 hours a day until you're successful, that's what it takes.

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  • I've watched the most senior people give themselves jobs and nice payrises regardless of whether they have any qualifications or experience in the areas they're heading up... at the expense of Bands 5-8a (the do-ers). They sent out redundancy letters to people who have been matched to jobs, or who have yet to go through the matching process. And after 30 months of the most highly paid NHS managers doing nothing else, they have released structures that still don't include many functions that enable the NHS CB to meet legal duties (comms, engagement, equality and diversity) at a local level. One can only conclude that the NHS is being led by the most greedy and stupid people with no conscience about how they treat the human beings under them nor the patients we care for.

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  • At last HSJ!

    An article that describes the real effect of these reforms on NHS staff and not just another Govt press release.

    Interesting how Mr MacKay has changed his tune since the last time HSJ reported on this issue:

    At least this time David Williams has incorporated statements from NHS staff on their circumstances which tell a very different story from the line the Govt would like the public to believe.

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  • Within 10 days I was told I would receive my notice by Christmas, was then invited for 4 interviews of which I was successful in one. Half the posts being advertised are for new teams and it is obvious that the programmes for these teams have not yet been determined. However the mad rush to appoint has caused chaos. People are still jumping from posts they have been appointed to into new roles, which then has a knock on effect for the genuine people who are at risk of loosing their jobs. The stress of it all has nearly given me a nervous breakdown. Applying for jobs in such stressful and unrealistic circumstances has been awful. I am not happy with the post I have been given and only hope this miserable feeling lifts and I can start to enjoy the job.

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  • Hello anon 2:25 - I don't think it's fair to say Neil McKay has changed his tune since our interview with him last month, as his quotes in this piece are taken from that previous story.

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  • Sir Neil should be up on disciplinaries charges for dereliction of duty: instead he'll walk off in March with a combined redundancy and pension package worth close to a £1m - to find work as an Interim on £1500 per day with no need to pay income tax. This is shameful.

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  • lets get real - budgets are flat whilst demand for healthcare is growing. The NHS has a bloated and dysfunctional management structure. If we don't have a net reduction in management posts, where will the savings come from?

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  • MiP...? I'd redirect your subs to your rainy day savings account instead mate

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  • HSJ understands that hundreds of staff assigned roles in new organisations are raising concerns over the new roles, where it is still not clear what the hours, locations or responsibilities will be, or where it appears that they do not match the skills or requirements of existing staff.

    Competitive interview for role that I , on looking at generic JD should be fine to do. Having started it stress through the roof and it was bead enough when I realised I might not have a job going forward.
    Not got clarity about my part time hours, no one able to hand over re a team I am supposed to manage, no desk , several locations across a huge area that I might be expected to work at, in reality not a job in reality ( rather than on paper) that I can honestly say I understand. I now see a more suitable job come up in the system but feel dreadfiul about causing more chaos.Seriously feel am losing the will to try and make sense of this.

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  • 1;22 anon, if you think NHS reorganisation has let you down, listen to 3:47 anon, put your money into a rainy day fund, that way you wont be let down again and can get something out of it.

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  • I just wish I had a redundancy notice, and I could be made redundant. I no longer wish to work in the restructured chaos of Commissioning. My passion for the NHS has disappeared. I will just do the job I have slotted into whilst looking for an opportunity to get out.

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  • This does sound pretty chaotic! Once people have accepted a role they should not be eligible to apply for a new one until the end of the change process.

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  • Has anyone asked the NHS Commissioning Board what data they might have on the overall impact of this on black and ethnic minority staff or those with disabilities?

    Perhaps we could be told?

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