| 8.6°C Belfast

3,950 redundant NHS staff re-hired


Labour accused the Government of "handing out cheques like confetti"

Labour accused the Government of "handing out cheques like confetti"

Labour accused the Government of "handing out cheques like confetti"

Almost 4,000 NHS staff who have been made redundant in the last four years have since been re-employed by the health service.

Labour accused the Government of "handing out cheques like confetti" after ministers admitted that, be tween May 2010 and last November, 3,950 staff were made redundant and have since been hired back.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Labour's Julie Hilling, MP for Bolton West, Health Minister Dan Poulter said: " By reducing managers and administrators by over 21,100, we are freeing up extra resources for patient care - £5.5 billion in this Parliament and £1.5 billion every year thereafter.

"The number of National Health Service staff estimated to have been made redundant since May 2010 and subsequently, up until November 2013, re-employed by an NHS organisation on (a) a permanent basis is 2,570 and (b) a fixed-term contract basis is 1,380."

Dr Poulter also cautioned that the figures, taken from the NHS's electronic staff record, were "unvalidated".

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "It will be utterly galling for nurses who've just had a pay cut from David Cameron to see he's been handing out cheques like confetti to people who have now been rehired. On his watch, we have seen pay-offs for managers and pay cuts for nurses.

"It's clear that people who received pay-offs are now coming back to the NHS in ever greater numbers. We need to know whether the Prime Minister has honoured his promise to recover redundancy payments from people who have been re-employed by his new organisations.

"The sickening scale of the waste caused by Cameron's reorganisation is finally becoming clear. It will infuriate people who can't get a GP appointment or nurses who are struggling to pay the bills."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "It is important for action to be taken in this area. That is why reforms are being made to redundancy arrangements, including the capping of payouts and the ability to claw back some or all of payments if those individuals concerned return to work within a year of being made redundant.

"When it comes to administrative staff in the NHS, there are now 21,000 fewer administrative posts since 2010."

The spokesman made clear that the contractual reforms to allow the clawback of payments did not apply to the redundancies of the 4,000 staff who have already been rehired, as they would originally have been employed under previous arrangements.

"We are having to deal with the legacy of previous contractual arrangements," he said. "The arrangements I pointed to are new ones coming into force."

A Conservative health spokesman said: " This is sheer hypocrisy from Labour - this Government's hands were tied by unacceptably lax rules on redundancy which they put into contracts in 2006, and which we're reforming.

"We are working on tough new plans to cap redundancy payouts for senior managers and claw back all or part of the payment if they return to work for the NHS within a year of being made redundant."