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Minister needs to come clean on cost of NHS reorganisation - Peter Black

November 6, 2009 9:34 AM

Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Minister, Peter Black has called on the Minister for Health to give firm figures as to how much the recent reorganisation of the health service will cost, what will happen to senior managerial staff who have no post to go to and how much money will be released from efficiency savings to go into frontline services for patients.

Mr Black's comments come following a meeting of the Health, Wellbeing and Local Government Committee where he questioned the Minister as to why a consultation revealed by an FOI in June showed that the government anticipated spending £13.5 million on post re-organisation redundancies for senior staff, despite the Minister having promised a no-redundancy policy.

The Minister seemed unable to answer any questions as to how much was being spent on employing former Senior Managers at their prior salaries, as well as how much would be saved as a result of the re-organisation that was completed in October this year.

Mr Black said: "The Minister does not seem to be able to say how much money will be saved by NHS re-organisation, or how this will occur."

"She seems to be treating this as a cure-all solution for all the problems within the health service and claims it will save money, but yet whenever we ask her questions she can't say how much or why?"

"The most obvious way in which re-organisation could save money is through removing layers of managerial staff, but instead it appears we are continuing to pay former Senior Directors and Chief Executives high rates of pay despite the fact that we do not know what role they will play within the new structures.

"The more we find out about the 'potential savings', the more concerned I am becoming. The Minister created a no-redundancy policy to allay the fears of Unions, but this means we now have a management heavy NHS that is no better at delivering services and has no extra resources."

"The Minister must be clear on where the anticipated savings are coming from and what costs are being incurred. How much will be saved? Importantly though, what are former Senior Staff now being paid to do? An FOI request from the Department shows that they have calculated how much needs to be spent on redundancies, but they aren't being allowed to do this for political reasons by the Minister."

"We need to be clear, senior staff should not be paid to do unnecessary jobs. We want to take that money and invest it back into frontline services. That is how the re-organisation was sold to us and that is the direction it should have taken."