Some of the most senior nurses working for NHS England could be made redundant under plans to cut a quarter of the organisation’s most senior clinical and managerial posts unveiled this week.
At least 75 of the organisation’s 300 most senior clinical and managerial posts are under threat, including many of the nursing directors of NHS England’s 24 area teams outside London.
Outside the capital area teams, which oversee NHS services in an area, currently all have nursing directors, along with medical finance and commissioning director posts. However, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens is keen to streamline staff and adopt the model used in London where the three area teams do not all have their own nursing director.
Nursing Times understands the number of area teams outside London could be halved.
Hundreds more redundancies from lower down the pay scale are also expected as part of the shake-up with a consultation with nurses and other staff on band 9 or below of the Agenda for Change pay framework due to begin next week.
Details of the major shake-up of its senior staff structures is the second phase of an organisational review of NHS England, initiated by Mr Stevens after he took up his position in April.
In an email to staff chief executive Simon Stevens said the organisation, which is less than two year’s old, needed to change to deal with a reduction in government funding and in order to focus on its “core mission”.
He has previously suggested he does not see patient safety as a core function of NHS England, whose primary role is to commission primary care and specialised health services. Many nurses currently work in the patient safety directorate overseen by chief nurse Jane Cummings.
In the email, obtained by Nursing Times’ sister publication HSJ, he said the move to reorganize area teams to reduce the number of senior staff was “principally driven by the running cost cuts we are facing”.
“In making these changes we will thereby minimise reductions required from less senior posts at other levels in our organisation,” he said.
All of the proposed changes are expected to be in place by April 2015.