NHS Digital to axe 500 jobs in first wave of major restructure

All staff will be required to reapply for their posts in a revamped organisational structure

A doctor writing up a digital prescription via a tablet device

NHS digital will cut 500 full-time jobs from its 2,500-strong workforce in a bid to reduce the size of the organisation and reconfigure its skillset, the health secretary has confirmed.

The first 'wave' of three in a major restructuring programme, which is due to be completed by 2020/21, is underway and will involve a 20% reduction in the organisation's staffing, Matt Hancock told parliament this week.

Hancock was answering a written question submitted by Labour's Hilary Benn MP for details as to what discussions he has had with staff about the proposed redesign.

A programme of staff engagement over job losses is in place, Hancock said, but added all staff will be required to re-apply for new posts in a reconfigured organisational structure. He confirmed a service will be in place to help staff move on to other opportunities.

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"This restructure is about skilling up our workforce and rethinking our structure," said NHS Digital's director of regions and professions Sean Walsh.

"This will ensure that we have the deep skills and technical expertise to deliver the best service for both patients and customers, and that our structure allows us to flex according to the needs of the health and care sector."

Both Walsh and Hancock confirmed staff changes within the organisation will be made through a combination of redeployment, natural turnover, and an outplacement service to find opportunities for current NHS staff.

"It is important to note that we cannot be precise about the exact numbers at this stage because they may change to reflect the outcomes of the proposals for change, as well as external influences which may affect us," Walsh continued.

"This is understandably a difficult and challenging time for our hardworking employees and we are taking every possible step to provide them with all the help and support they need."

NHS Digital employees 2,500 staff based in locations across the country including London, Leeds, Southport, Exeter, Southampton, Washington and Redditch.

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