THE cost of redundancies as part of a NHS shake-up in South Tyneside already tops £1.9m, Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn warned today.
Mr Hepburn has hit out at the ‘hidden costs’ of health service reorganisation by the coalition Government.
The new figures come as a leaked report from the Department of Health confirms the full cost of the NHS changes at more than £3bn.
Figures reveal that South Tyneside Primary Care Trust (PCT) has already been forced to spend £1,909,000 laying off staff – only for many expected to be re-employed elsewhere in the system – in what is just the first phase of redundancies.
A leaked Government ‘business case’ for its Health Bill confirms the vast overall costs of the Government’s NHS reorganisation. It confirms that £11,947,845 in South Tyneside PCT is being held back from NHS patient care to pay for the reorganisation, in the form of a Government-ordered two per cent PCT budget hold-back in 2011-12 and 2012-13 – amounting to £3.45bn across England.
Mr Hepburn said: “People will want to know why our local NHS has been forced to waste £1,909,000 on payouts, only for many of the same staff to be re-employed in the new NHS organisations.
“This is only the first wave of redundancies. More are expected later this year and next as part of the coalition Government’s reckless NHS reorganisation that will cost £11,947,845 in our area alone.
“South Tyneside’s NHS is counting the cost of David Cameron’s arrogance. By pushing ahead with a reorganisation no one wants, he is taking billions away from the NHS front line, just as it needs to focus on patient care.
“Cameron promised to protect the NHS but his back-office waste has resulted in front line cuts, with thousands of nurses also losing their jobs since he became PM.
“He will never be trusted again on the NHS.”
A spokeswoman for NHS South of Tyne and Wear, said: “NHS South of Tyne and Wear, working on behalf of South Tyneside Primary Care Trust, was among the 12 primary care trusts in the North East required by the Department of Health to collectively deliver annual management cost savings of £27m by April 2011 to meet the challenges of a difficult economic environment.
“In order to reduce costs to the required level, NHS South of Tyne and Wear, along with the Strategic Health Authority and PCTs across the region, revised their management structure and invited expressions of interest from those staff wishing to be considered for redundancy.
“We worked closely with staff alongside representatives to support staff through this challenging period, and the majority of redundancies were made through voluntary redundancy. Payments were calculated in line with national guidance.
“The requirement for PCTs to set aside two per cent of their budgets for use ‘non recurrently’ is not new – a similar position was announced within the 2010/11 Operating Framework and has applied in the current financial year.
“PCT’s have used this budget in a number of ways including the financing of Capital Projects and one-off developments to support clinical innovation. We have already started to think about the utilisation in 2012/13 and are planning on spending this resource in a similar manner to 2011/12.
“During reorganisations, there may be short-term costs, but these costs translate into savings in the long term.
“The reduced number of posts in our staffing structure, alongside a recruitment freeze in management posts from the 1st April 2010/11, will result in £4m being saved annually.
“This will be re-invested in front-line NHS services to deliver better, more efficient and effective care to patients, whilst transforming the health of our communities.”