There are likely to be more jobs in new NHS organisations than there are people in posts being axed, HSJ has been told.

However redundancies are still expected because the remaining staff do not necessarily have the right skills or live in the right part of the country.

Sir Neil McKay, the senior responsible officer for the human resources transition, told HSJ: “In overall terms we believe there are currently more jobs than there are people at risk.”

He said natural wastage and voluntary redundancy schemes had cut the numbers of staff affected by the transition to below the level of jobs expected from April 2013 – estimated at around 48,000 to 50,000.

“On one level it looks theoretically possible for everyone to get a job, but in practice we know that is not the case. Some people won’t have the skills necessary for a particular job, or there might be a geographical mismatch.”

The finance and analytic functions were two areas where there were likely to be more jobs than people in the NHS with the skills to do them, Mr McKay said. However, he was not able to identify any skills areas where there were more staff than jobs.

In the south of England there were likely to be more jobs than people, while the opposite is the case in the north, the north west in particular.

NHS staff “affected” by the transition will receive letters before the end of the year telling them whether they had a job in the new system, or whether they were at risk of redundancy. A “job matching” exercise, designed to identify where there are roles in the new system equivalent to posts people already have, is currently underway.

A year ago, Sir Neil - the chief executive of NHS Midlands and East - pledged that staff would be told of their “expected destination” by the end of January 2012, in a bid to give workers some certainty over their future.

However, even those staff told they have not been matched to a role in a new organisation could have the chance to apply for jobs between January and March 2013, when many posts will be recruited.

“I would be confident that many people being told they’re at risk [in their December letter] will find jobs in the new year… a number of people I’m absolutely certain will get a job.”

Sir Neil estimated that “more than half” of the jobs in the new system would be filled through the job matching process.

He would not put a number on the expected level of redundancies, saying the picture would only become clear in January when job matching was expected to be completed.

The NHS Commissioning Board announced last week that it expects to complete job matching or internal competition for 98 per cent of roles by the end of the year.

Sir Neil said that for the system as a whole the picture might not be as strong, but was “fairly confident it will be into the 90s”.