NHS job cuts rumoured in restructuring plan

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt is preparing to make up to 6,000 NHS staff redundant at a cost of £320m in severance payments, according to leaked plans.

The job cuts stem from an overhaul of NHS organisations set up across England less than three years ago.

Hewitt intends to merge 300 primary care trusts into about 100 leaner bodies. The 28 strategic health authorities that oversee them will reduce to about 11.

Health service unions were told earlier this week that Hewitt was about to approve plans to save millions of pounds by shedding administrative staff, reports Health Service Journal.

A Department of Health spokesman said any estimates of redundancies were speculative until health authorities consulted on the changes at local level.

Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, representing NHS managers and trusts, said staff must be treated equitably if redundancies prove inevitable.

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