WORKFORCE: The Black Country and Birmingham and Solihull primary care trust clusters have announced they will spend £11m on voluntary redundancies.

A joint statement said the new NHS organisations taking over from PCTs will have to work with “significantly fewer staff” than are currently employed.

A total of 255 people will be leaving the cluster organisations under a mutually agreed resignation scheme, with a total cost in the region of £10.9m.

That is made up of 140 people leaving the Black Country cluster at a cost of £5.5m, and 115 leaving Birmingham and Solihull at a cost of £5.4m.

However, further staff cuts will have to be made as the deadline for abolishing PCTs approaches. HSJ has previously reported that 400 staff will be made redundant in total.

The clusters said: “We anticipate that the MARS scheme will pay for itself through reduced pay costs in less than 18 months, after which the savings will be invested in patient care.

“Even allowing for the number of staff who have left under MARS, we expect that there will have to be a further number of redundancies as we move towards the abolition of the PCTs at the end of March 2013.

“We are trying to manage this process as sensitively as we can, and that includes having open and honest discussions with trades union representatives.”