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Transition redundancies hit women hardest

A disproportionate number of women have been made redundant during the reorganisation of the NHS, latest figures obtained by HSJ reveal.

Data on NHS staff affected by the transition obtained by HSJ shows that 74 per cent of all those made redundant were women, when only 69 per cent of staff affected by the restructure were female.

The data applies to quarter one of 2012-13, and comes from the most recent report prepared for the NHS Commissioning Board on the Department of Health’s “people tracker”, which monitors NHS employees whose jobs will be affected.

The tracker also shows that staff over 40 are more likely to be made redundant – accounting for 77 per cent of those laid off against 65 per cent of the workforce overall. Younger staff are more likely to leave through “natural attrition”.

On ethnicity, it shows that 86 per cent of staff made redundant are of white British, white Irish and “white other” backgrounds, groups that together comprise 80 per cent of the overall workforce.

The tracker shows that by the end of June this year there were 37,325 full time equivalent staff in “sender” organisations – NHS bodies such as primary care trusts and strategic health authorities whose functions will be transferred to new organisations by April 2013.

This total had fallen from 38,163 in April, meaning 839 full time equivalent staff – or 2.2 per cent – left sending organisations over those three months.

Of these, 551 went through natural attrition. The report said: “The reduction of 551 FTE through natural attrition is significant in that it reduces the number of staff estimated to be ‘surplus’ i.e. the difference between current staff and affordable staff in the new system. 

“This will consequently lead to a reduction in the estimates of system redundancy costs.”

Although the Midlands and East region saw the biggest number of staff leave, with 2.8 per cent of SHA staff and 3.1 per cent of PCT staff departing, the North had the largest number of redundancies, accounting for more than half of those across the country.

A total of 194 were transferred to other parts of the NHS – known as “receiving” organisations, and 95 were made redundant. Half of these were compulsory redundancies.

A further 129 were identified “at risk”, while 94 posts were described as “deferred redundancy”. Sixty-two were under notice of redundancy.

Two well-placed sources have told HSJ that the new system is likely to have around 37,000 full time equivalent jobs. However, Jon Restell, chief executive of Managers in Partnership, warned that further redundancies were likely over the coming months, as those left in the system may lack the right skills or not be based in the right part of the country.

Jog Hundle, partner specialising in NHS employment at Mills and Reeve solicitors, said the high levels of women being made redundant was probably due to more part-time posts being removed.

NHS Employers declined to comment.

Readers' comments (9)

  • Well done to HSJ for publishing this. As the transition process rolls on, it'll be important to keep an eye on the equality side of things.

    On an unrelated note, it's rather worrying to see a CB report using 3D graphs...

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  • And BME staff?

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  • Is this because there's 'disproportionate' number of women working in the NHS ?

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  • Hi Anon @ 10:20 - in short, no. As per the first paragraph, women make up the majority of the NHS workforce (69%), but an even greater majority of the redundancies (74%). It's not a particularly large variation at this stage, but something to keep track of in the future.

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  • Do we know if these were voluntary or compulsory redundancies? Headline could read 'Men denied opportunity of redundancy'!

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  • Anon 1:41 it does advise that a number were compulsory but what would be more interesting is to see total of leavers on all severance schemes - as the article seems only to look at redundancy also this is a snap shot in time so again total figures from 2010-11 then 2011 - 12 (Apr)
    In my exeperience it all boils down to individual circumstance and the size of the package on offer - maybe women over 40 can see the opportunity that is presented and hence take it and go to pastures new!

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  • Anon 1:41 it does advise that a number were compulsory but what would be more interesting is to see total of leavers on all severance schemes - as the article seems only to look at redundancy also this is a snap shot in time so again total figures from 2010-11 then 2011 - 12 (Apr)
    In my exeperience it all boils down to individual circumstance and the size of the package on offer - maybe women over 40 can see the opportunity that is presented and hence take it and go to pastures new!

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  • In the first paragraph, are the percentages based on WTE? If not, that may have an affect on the figures because we all know women take up the vast majority of part-time jobs.

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  • I think it is worrying that a lot of part-time jobs seem to have gone, women seem to have been disproportionately affected and those over 40 also. Maybe those are the women who want to balance work and family life and the changes have limited their ability to continue to do that. What happened to Improving working Lives and Flexible working policies and valuing diversity in the NHS?

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