NHS London has begun alerting hundreds of staff internally and across the capital’s 31 primary care trusts that their jobs are at risk.

The strategic health authority this week began consulting personnel who face redundancy.

A spokesman for the SHA said there were not exact figures yet but the total would run into the hundreds.

He said: “In line with London’s PCTs, NHS London must reduce its costs to protect frontline services and support GP consortia. We have launched our staff consultation and voluntary redundancy scheme to reduce our management costs even further.

“NHS London plans to save almost £5m this year, reducing its budget by more than a quarter. This will be on top of the significant savings made so far by stripping back our use of agency staff and management consultants. 

“Across the PCTs and SHA in London we are looking to save £178m by April 2011 – a year earlier than planned.”

The strategic health authority’s offer is different from the Department of Health’s Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme, which anyone could apply for.

There are now 2,200 people leaving the NHS thorugh the MARS scheme, which the DH estimated would generate £75m in annual salary savings.