NHS Digital has spent more than £11m in staff termination costs under its Org2 restructure, with some employees receiving exit packages worth up to £200,000.
Account documents show that NHS Digital spent £11.2million on staff termination packages in 2018-2019, as the organisation began the first “wave” of the restructure.
This included 180 “compulsory redundancies”.
In total, NHS Digital saw 428 employees leave the organisation in the most recent financial year, with overall headcount falling by 304.
Twenty-two members off staff received termination payouts of between £100,000 and £150,000, while two received packages worth between £150,000 and £200,000.
By comparison, NHS Digital spent a total of £659,000 on redundancy packages in the 2017-2018 financial year.
Org2 aims to address a shortage of expertise in emerging fields like cyber security, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and follows concerns from some partners around NHS Digital’s capability to deliver in new, more innovative fields.
It is understood that NHS Digital plans to cut its headcount by at least 500, based on comments made by health secretary Matthew Hancock in November 2018.
A spokesperson told Digital Health News that it expected to have reduced headcount to 2,500 by the completion of Org2, due in 2021.
“The restructure that we are currently undergoing involves three phases, of which the first is complete,” they said.
“This first phase included the senior roles within the business and the closure of a number of regional offices, the latter of which presented limited opportunity for suitable alternative employment.”
The spokesperson said NHS Digital was “unable to be specific about expected termination costs or headcount reductions in 2019-20,” adding that it had “a responsibility to identify opportunities for suitable alternative employment where possible.”
Staff at risk of redundancy in future phases may apply for other roles within NHS Digital up until their last working day with the organisation, they added.