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Public health redundancies ‘to cost £500k’

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Staff who could controversially be made redundant from Northamptonshire County Council’s public health team would get a pay-out totalling half a million pounds.

Watchdog body, Healthwatch Northamptonshire, said it had learned of the figure after becoming concerned that the shake-up, which it strongly opposes, would be wasting money at a time of austerity.

A report written by Rosie Newbigging, the Healthwatch Northamptonshire chief executive, said: “We are concerned that essential public health money will be spent on re-organisation and redundancy costs, rather than the much-needed front line public health activity.”

Healthwatch has already said it was worried that the proposed plan would see the loss of four medically-trained consultant roles.

Overall, the public health team would be reduced from 15 whole-time positions to 10.

Mrs Newbigging said the watchdog understood that more than £500,000 was to be spent on making specialist public health staff redundant.

It also discovered that costs would be reduced by £638,000, but questioned whether that would be cut from front line public health.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said the changes were as a result of public health switching from the NHS to a service run alongside other County Hall functions.

He said the council aimed to make savings by using these economies of scale while not impacting on public health targets. He said: “There is, of course, a cost attached to redundancies, but these are restricted to one financial year, whereas the savings are made each year going forward.”

 

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