A national resignation scheme which will lead to the loss of NHS jobs is being approved by ministers, it has been revealed.
NHS trusts across the country have been writing to staff offering them a lump sum pay-off under a "mutually agreed resignation scheme".
These schemes are designed to create vacancies which managers believe either do not need to be replaced or which can be filled by redeployment from jobs that themselves do not need to be replaced.
It is thought some compulsory redundancies could be prevented this way as the NHS tries to save billions of pounds and moves towards abolition of primary care trusts (PCTs), as set out in the Government's white paper.
Now, in a bid to ensure consistency across the service, a national scheme is being set up instead. NHS East of England chief executive, Sir Neil McKay, has overseen the deal.
In a letter to NHS managers, reported by the Health Service Journal (HSJ), he said: "I am aware that a number of NHS organisations have agreed mutually agreed resignation schemes (MARS) to help with management costs reductions.
"Although such schemes are not currently related to any impact of the white paper, I want to ensure we are as joined up as possible.
"We are therefore working with the NHS trade unions and NHS Employers to create a national scheme that would supersede any local arrangements (other than those developed by foundation trusts)."
According to the HSJ, the NHS deal will allow managers to receive up to a year's pay if they volunteer to leave the service.
This would equate to £97,478 for the highest paid manager under the Agenda for Change contract or £137,500 for the average PCT chief executive.