Skip to main content

NHS Staff Redundancies

Volume 546: debated on Tuesday 12 June 2012

Audited 2011-12 figures on NHS exit packages, including redundancies, are not yet available. The data will be available in the summer, once the Department’s annual report and accounts are laid before Parliament.

The latest figures from the Department show that the cost of reorganising the NHS on Teesside is more than £50 million, including £9 million in redundancy payments to hundreds of staff who have lost their jobs. At the same time the Minister is demanding massive cuts of £40 million from the local hospital trust. Will he apologise to the people of Teesside for wasting their money and confirm that none of those made redundant will be re-hired in the new structures?

No, of course I will not. What the hon. Gentleman fails to recognise is that the NHS must continually evolve to meet challenges and that this is the best chance the NHS has to improve and drive up standards. What he fails to mention in his question is that the £1.2 billion to £1.3 billion cost of the reform will lead, between now and the next election, to £4.5 billion of savings, £1.5 billion every year thereafter until 2020, and every single penny of that money will be reinvested in front-line services.

We already know that this Government spent more than £168 million nationally making NHS staff redundant over 2010 and 2011, and more than £3.8 million in Tower Hamlets, where my constituency is based. Can the Minister tell the House how many of those staff were re-hired in the new system?

Yes, there have been redundancies in the NHS, but 15,500 managers and administrators have ceased to work in the NHS, where the savings are reinvested in front-line services. There are also 4,161 extra doctors, 934 more midwives and 151 more health visitors. That is where we are concentrating the money—more front-line staff, fewer administrators.

At a time when almost 4,000 nursing posts have been axed, the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust is using unpaid jobseekers through the Government’s Work programme to perform duties such as collecting drugs and giving food and drinks to patients. Does not the Minister understand that whatever the good intentions of the scheme, most people will see this as staffing on the cheap, and that there can be no substitute for the necessary number of nurses and health care assistants in our NHS?

First, the shadow Minister is incorrect in the number of nurses who he says have left the NHS. The figure is nowhere near 4,000, as he mentioned—[Interruption.] It is 2,693. Secondly, he denigrates a scheme where people have the opportunity, through the jobcentres, to gain familiarity with the workings of the NHS so that they can take a view as to whether they want to invest their future talents in a career in the NHS. I should have thought that that was to be welcomed, rather than snidely denigrated.