Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Tuesday, 23 October 2012 12:48 UK

NHS reforms 'will cost 1bn in management redundancies'

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has dismissed concern from Labour that the cost of redundancies caused by the government's reforms to the NHS in England will reach £1bn.

On 23 October 2012, as Mr Hunt took his first Commons question session since being appointed to the role in PM David Cameron's recent reshuffle, the new health secretary said the reforms would save money in the long term.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham complained that England's NHS had been given a "real-terms cut, two years running", despite a coalition pledge to increase health spending faster than the rate of inflation.

The Labour frontbencher also said the cost of the NHS re-organisation had gone "up by 33%", or £400m, and was now "£1.6bn and rising".

"What's this money being spent on?" he asked: "A full £1bn on redundancy packages for managers; 1,300 have got six-figure pay-offs; 173 pay-offs over £200,000.

"And scandalously this news comes as today we learn that nurse redundancies have risen to over 6,100."

Mr Burnham asked whether the health secretary was proud that his predecessor, Andrew Lansley, had left him a legacy of "six-figure pay-outs for managers; P45s for nurses; an NHS in chaos".

But Mr Hunt defended the government's changes to the NHS. "Thanks to those reforms we will save £1.5bn every single year from 2014," he said.

"The total savings in this Parliament will be £5.5bn.

"Let me just remind him that what he left the NHS with was £73bn of PFI debt that cost the NHS £1.6bn every single year that cannot now be spent on patient care, and he should be ashamed of that."

Other questions encompassed accident and emergency services, national pay arrangements and dementia care.

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