Primary care trust and strategic health authority staff across England are today being sent letters explaining where their function is to be transferred to in the restructured NHS.
The letters, which were leaked to HSJ in template form last week, have been ordered by the Department of Health. The intention is to tell staff to which organisation their function is moving after PCTs and SHAs are abolished in April 2013 – but the letters stop short of promising employees a job in the new system.
As previously reported by HSJ, there are two types of letters being sent to employees. One is for staff “where there is clarity about the destination of their current function”, while the other is for use “where destination of function is yet to be determined”.
The DH also published the latest version of a spreadsheet (attached, right) showing where PCT and SHA functions are expected to transfer next year. The spreadsheet was removed from the DH website earlier today.
Unlike previous drafts of the document, whole time equivalent figures are not given for each function and no roles are marked with “no organisation claiming function”.
However, no distinction is drawn between clinical commissioning groups and commissioning support services, as those decisions will be taken locally, and many functions are still earmarked to transfer to one of several possible bodies.
A 26 January letter to PCT and SHA leaders from Sir Neil McKay, the department’s transition lead, said: “You will note that for some functions, more than one potential receiver has been identified. Where that is the case, further work is taking place to refine the function’s destinations.”
He recommended: “In the meantime, I suggest that you write to the relevant staff to indicate all potential receivers,” meaning many staff would be told their function would transfer to one of a range of bodies.
Estates and facilities staff will be transferred to NHS Property Services Ltd, the government owned company being set up to own and manage much of the PCT estate after April 2013.
However, a factsheet for NHS staff released today, said: “Due to the complexities of the estate, it is envisaged that properties and staff may transfer from PCTs in a number of waves, between September 2012 and March 2013. This is still to be confirmed.”
The factsheet also said: “The structure and location of NHS Property Services have not been fully developed as yet. However, at a national and sub national level it is intended that it will mirror the NHS Commissioning Board locations as far as possible, with further local resources where required.”
Early reactions to the letters have been lukewarm. Nicola Close, chief executive of the Association of Directors of Public Health, tweeted “got mine. Not hugely enlightening - now know I am a PH Specialist & I will be kept informed about options”.