NHS Digital to axe 500 jobs in major restructure, Hancock confirms

NHS Digital is set to cut 500 jobs from its workforce through planned restructuring of the organisation, the health secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

Hancock made the announcement in response to questions from the chair of the Committee on Exiting the European Union, Hillary Benn, regarding the redundancies and details of the reorganisation of NHS Digital.

He said: “Due to the need to reduce the size of the organisation and change the skills and capability of its workforce, NHS Digital’s restructuring is planned to be delivered in a series of ‘waves’ and is due to be completed by 2020-21. Wave one is currently in progress.”


NHS Digital estimates a net overall reduction of “circa 500 full-time equivalents” is expected. He added that engagement and discussions with staff and staff representatives are currently in place.

“All staff will be affected by the restructuring and will be required to apply for posts in the new organisation structure,” Hancock said, adding that a professional outplacement service will work with displaced staff to help them seek reemployment.


NHS Digital’s director of regions and professions Sean Walsh said: “This restructure is about skilling up our workforce and rethinking our structure. This will ensure that we have the deep skills and technical expertise to deliver the best service for both patients and customers and that our structure allows us to flex according to the needs of the health and care sector.”

Walsh reiterated Hancock’s comments that redundancies will be made, where possible, through a combination of redeployment, natural turnover, and alternative employment. However, he emphasised that “we cannot be precise about the exact numbers at this stage because they may change to reflect the outcomes of the proposals for change, as well as external influences which may affect us.”

Walsh concluded: “This is understandably a difficult and challenging time for our hardworking employees and we are taking every possible step to provide them with all the help and support they need.”

NHE has also reached out to Unison for comment.