The director general of NHS finance, performance and operations David Flory has warned that health service redundancies are likely to continue at their current rate of around 54 a month.
Compulsory redundancies stemming from the reorganisations of primary care and ambulance trusts and strategic health authorities have now been completed, resulting in a total of 5,318 lay-offs from April 2006 to December 2008, four-fifths of which were non clinical.
But although the numbers being forced to take redundancy are significantly lower than the peak of 256 a month in summer 2007, Mr Flory told HSJ he now expected the figure to stabilise at the current rate of around 54 a month - 72 per cent of which are non clinical.
He said the economic downturn had already caused the Department of Health to make it clear health service organisations would need to make efficiency cuts of more than 3 per cent in 2010-11, much of it through back office rationalisation.
“People are thinking about how to organise themselves to deliver that and are taking early opportunities now to get some of that in the bank,” he said. “We are looking for people to take opportunities when they come up, to look rigorously at the way in which they commission and deliver their services, particularly back office and support services - to take every opportunity that they can to improve the efficiency of those.”
Many of the redundancies resulting from Commissioning a Patient-led NHS were not made until two years after its 2005 publication, when employment guarantees ran out, with another glut in summer 2008.
In 2007, the Audit Commission found compulsory redundancies were costing an average£82,446. Based on that, the total redundancies to the end of 2008 are likely to have cost the NHS around£438m.
REDUNDANCIES – APRIL 06 TO DECEMBER 08
|Period||Compulsory redundancies||Estimated cost (£m)|