NHS England’s primary care contract managers will be reorganised and reduced by September next year, with the services potentially being outsourced.
The responsibilities are carried out in the national commissioning body’s local offices. Staff were transferred from primary care trusts in April, when most other functions had their running costs cut by about 40 per cent.
NHS England had said it would make the same saving in “primary care support services”, also known as its family health services function, during 2013-14.
A paper due to go to its board on Friday said this has been delayed. A staff consultation will begin this month and changes will take place between March and September next year.
Proposals, which are subject to further consideration and consultation, would see the current 37 sites reduced to 12.
The functions currently employ 1,800 staff. NHS England has not said how many will be cut but it plans to reduce the £100m running cost by £40m.
In some areas the functions are already outsourced to providers including NHS Shared Business Services and Serco.
The paper indicates outsourcing could be extended. It says NHS England will consider its “long-term role as a commissioner of these services and not a provider”, and “in-house services should be given time… to become ‘match-fit’ mature providers capable of responding to a future market-test”.