Department of Health to cut jobs and merge London sites
Core department announces plans to merge three London offices in favour of single site in Westminster
The Department of Health is to shed around 650 jobs, it has confirmed, as the organisation centres around a single site in Westminster.
Although NHS spending was protected at November's government-wide spending review, the core department was asked make cuts to its administrative spending of 30% by 2019-20.
As part of meeting that target, the department has said that the number of non-senior staff at the organisation is to fall from 1,800 to 1,200-1,300 by April 2017. And the DH's London footprint will shrink from its three existing London sites to just one, at 39 Victoria Street in Westminster.
Commenting on the news, which was first reported by Health Service Journal, a Department of Health spokesperson said: "The priorities for the new parliament are clear and the spending review has confirmed financial expectations. The Department of Health will begin a new programme of modernisation, starting now."
The department's outgoing permanent secretary Una O'Brien said that while the department had "an important role leading the health and care system in England to help people live better for longer", it was "only right" for it to "take its fair share of the efficiency savings".
She added: "Consolidating our estate onto fewer sites and reducing staff numbers will enable us to deliver efficiencies and provide the most effective service to the country."
The Department of Health announcement follows confirmation earlier this week that the government estate is set to reduce by some 75% over the next decade, with the Cabinet Office setting out plans to move from 800 sites to fewer than 200 by 2023. That plan has already sparked warnings from civil service unions concerned about the impact on local jobs.
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