The DH plans to retain some PCT and SHA staff for up to a year after April 2013, when those bodies are abolished.
New DH guidance allows for staff retention “in agreed posts” to help manage the transition process.
The staff in question may number several hundred nationally, and may be housed by an existing arm’s length body.
The measure builds on the Retention and Exit Terms Scheme agreed with the health unions, whereby many staff will be redeployed in new NHS organisations including commissioning support services.
According to Retention Terms for Business Critical Staff, a PCT or SHA can request for “an individual or group of individuals” to be kept on if they are “required to close down a particular activity”.
The transitional roles must be ones that “if not filled, will result in an unacceptable risk to the organisation concerned” because the staff have “scarce skills and knowledge” or the roles would be difficult to outsource.
These roles may include financial activities, as well as areas of expertise (such as risk management) that need to be handed over to new organisations.
Staff in these ‘business critical roles’ will be paid bonuses for taking on “additional responsibilities or a wider portfolio” as part of the transition.
John Restell, Chief Executive of health management union Managers in Partnership, commented: “Some of our members are already managing with much reduced staff, and maybe this is a bit too late for them.”
There was more likely to be widespread use of interim management during the transition, he said.