Inquiry call over bill for
NHS changes

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A health workers’ union is to call for parliamentary probes into the “scandalous” £300m extra spending on the Government’s controversial NHS reforms.

Unite said the Health and Public Accounts Select Committees should examine the £1.5bn-£1.6bn cost of implementing the Health and Social Care Act, hundreds of millions of pounds more than previously estimated.

The union said every extra penny spent on reorganisation was a penny less for healthcare.

The Department of Health’s annual accounts for 2011 to 2012 also showed that 28,000 NHS jobs were lost in just one year.

The number of people employed by the health service fell by 2.55 per cent between 2011 to 2012, from 1,125,877 to 1,097,180.

Unite’s Rachael Maskell said: “We will be writing to the health and public accounts select committees asking them to probe this scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money caused by the completely unnecessary reform process.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “These are one-off costs. By investing in these changes we will be able to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and free up extra resources – £5.5bn during this Parliament and £1.5bn every year thereafter – for patient care.

“There are more clinical staff working in the NHS than there were in May 2010, including nearly 3,500 more doctors, and over 900 extra midwives. And the number of staff delivering NHS services in the community is estimated to have risen by 25,000.”