Senior nurse jobs could be among hundreds of posts axed, as part of a major restructure of the national commissioning body NHS England.
Nursing Times understands up to 800 jobs could go in the cost-cutting exercises that looks set to involve a re-organisation of the body’s 27 area teams, which cover local zones within four regions.
According to senior sources, officials have discussed the need to lose 500 to 800 posts in a bid to reduce running costs by 10-15% in 2015-16. However, the total reduction in jobs is likely to be towards the smaller end if cuts focus on senior staff, as expected.
NHS England would not comment on whether the cuts were likely to affect senior nurse roles or those working in the office of the chief nursing officer for England, which comes under the body’s remit.
However, it did not deny that changes were taking place and could affect nurses who number among the body’s 5,500 or so full-time equivalent staff.
“We are in the very early stages of this process, so it is not possible to provide further details,” said a spokesman.
Senior sources told Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal that there were likely to be reductions and extensive structural changes in the area teams where many NHS England employees work.
Such changes could include area teams outside London sharing directors across a number of teams – which would make the national structure more like that already operating in the capital.
While it is understood senior figures at NHS England are keen to avoid large numbers of redundancies, this may not be possible.
The cuts at NHS England follow the arrival in April this year of its new chief executive Simon Stevens and come little more than a year after the body became fully operational in April 2013.
News of the NHS England restructure follows the announcement last month of similar changes at Health Education England, which are designed to help cut costs there by 20%.
The proposals, which include slashing senior management within England’s 12 Local Education and Training Boards, have prompted fears vital nursing expertise could be lost.