NHS redundancies spark political row

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Andy B 2 The cost of redundancies in the NHS reform process has provoked fierce debate between the Government and the Opposition.

Labour claims that £1.4bn of the NHS budget has been spent on redundancies, with frontline services being cut to provide the money.

The Government claims the deletion of a layer of management will save the NHS £1.5bn per year.

According to the NHS in England’s accounts for 2012–13, published last week, there have been 32,000 NHS redundancies under this Government.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham (pictured) described the cost as “waste on a colossal scale at a time when the NHS needs every penny it can get”.

However, Health Minister Norman Lamb said it was “a one-off cost of slimming down the massive over-bloated bureaucracy Labour created”.

Both politicians were speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“We’ve had thousands of six-figure pay-offs for managers at a time when thousands of nurses are getting P45s,” Burnham stated.

Lamb claimed the money saved by reducing management and administration costs was being reinvested in frontline care.

According to the National Audit Office, the NHS reforms have cost £1.1bn to implement. A total of 44 “very senior managers” have been laid off for a total of £578,470 in redundancy payments.

A Department of Health spokesperson argued: “Last year we started changes that put doctors and nurses in the driving seat as they are best placed to take decisions about care for their patients.”

The BMA and the Royal College of Nursing have consistently opposed the reforms, claiming they have been disempowered and the services they provide have been cut back.