NHS workforce

NHS merger to drastically shrink workforce reveals Conservative MP

New Minister of State for health, Robert Jenrick, announced that the impending merger of NHS England, NHS Digital and Health Education England will see a 30-40% reduction in staff.

The MP for Newark provided his insight when responding to a parliamentary question from Labour MP Alex Norris who enquired what conclusions the Department of Health and Social Care had made on the impacts the merger would have on the workforce and how it would effect contractors.

Robert Jenrick said: “NHS England, NHS Digital and Health Education England will be merged from 1 April 2023. The merger will be managed through statutory transfer orders which will be developed as part of the secondary legislation for all staff employed by NHS Digital and Health Education England transferring to NHS England.

“A programme to oversee the merger has been established. The organisational design work currently underway will determine the impact on the current workforce and also the future workforce needs of the new organisation.

“We expect that by the end of 2023/24 the new NHS England will be at least 30% and up to 40% smaller than the current combined size of NHS England, Health Education England and NHS Digital.”

As Jenrick says the merger is scheduled for the April of next year and, although the details have yet to be divulged, the workforce cut is expected to be complete by 2023/24.

The merger of NHS England, NHS Digital and Health Education was first announced in the November of last year – originally the merger included NHSX but plans for that were scuppered in February when it was absorbed into the transformation directorate of NHS England.

The workforce has been under increasing pressure in the midst of record-breaking backlog – the brunt of which has been taken on by NHS staff. NHS Employers recently highlighted how organisations could most effectively recruit and retain staff, as thousands face burnout in the wake of the biggest healthcare challenge in a generation.

The advice NHS Employers gave on how best to recruit and retain staff is available here.

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