£3bn cost of NHS reorganisation likely to be an overestimate

14th Mar 2014

It's been called 'modernisation', 'reorganisation' and even a 'major de-layering'. The government's changes to the way the NHS is structured - as set out by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 - is still being argued about on both sides of the fence.

Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, revisited an old claim on yesterday's Question Time:

"There was an unwanted, unannounced top-down reorganisation of the NHS costing £3 billion, which has put in NHS in a weakened financial position which has meant that £1.4bn alone was spent on redundancy payments in the NHS"

We've factchecked this before, along with the government's counter-claim: that the structural changes have cost closer to £1.5 billion and are expected to save more than they cost.

The figures haven't changed, and neither have the problems associated with Labour's £3 billion cost. It represents the total funding which local trusts were required by previous NHS Operating Frameworks to set aside for 'non-recurrent' costs.

That can include the costs of transition to a new structure, but it doesn't preclude spending on other one-off projects as well, so it's an imprecise measure of transition costs.