The Coalition government handed NHS bosses a less than welcome early Christmas present this month when they sent them letters asking for their resignations.
The unprecedented move was revealed by Labour, who claim on their official website that: “Hundreds of senior NHS figures, many with years of experience and public service, have in recent days received letters demanding their immediate resignation.”
Those sent the letters, which include pre-written resignation letters, are chairpersons and directors of primary care trusts. These resignations are thought to pave the way for the controversial reforms that are planned for the NHS, including the transference of the decision making, budget managing and service provision processes from managerial staff to consortiums of GPs. However, these revelations about resignation letters come months before the reform proposals are rubber-stamped through parliament.
NHS resignations expected by end of year
According to Labour, the pro-forma resignation letters carry instructions to be returned by 31st December.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: “"This is no way to treat people and no way to run an NHS. It threatens to plunge the NHS into a vacuum just when it most needs experience, grip and focus.” He went on to liken the forced resignations to, “throwing captain and crew overboard,” and called for them to be halted.
According to the Guardian, a letter to NHS directors in the Greater Manchester area from the Appointments Commission said that it was: “…sorry to have to write to you in this manner. I know that it is particularly hard to resign after you have given years of service to the NHS.” The letters went on to make it clear that resignation or termination were the only available options.
In response to criticism over the letters, a spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “Primary Care Trust (PCT) clusters bring together a group of PCTs under a single executive team,” and so the number of directors would be reduced. “As common boards form [for each cluster], the number of different non-executives needed will reduce. We have given clusters flexibility to take more time to complete this process, where necessary.”