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Exclusive: More than 1,250 people quit ICB job since July

Exclusive: More than 1,250 people quit ICB job since July
By Jess Hacker
21 February 2023

Exclusive Resignations from ICBs have topped 1,200 since the bodies gained statutory footing in July of last year.

At the top end, some organisations saw nearly 100 people hand in their notice, with the total number of leavers across 39 ICBs breaching 2,000 people.

Data obtained by Healthcare Leader under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed that as many as 1,274 people have handed in their resignation and terminated their employment with the ICB.

A further 253 ICB employees have retired since July, 260 have left due to their contract expiring and 56 have been made redundant. Only eight people accepted voluntary redundancy.

Healthcare Leader’s investigation has also revealed that at least 19,066 people are currently directly employed by an ICB as of January 2023, based on responses received from 39 of the 42 Boards.

ICBs gained statutory footing in July 2022, taking over the commissioning responsibilities from the 106 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) predecessors.

There was concern from out-going leaders that the shift would see a significant loss of clinical leadership from primary care.

According to the data obtained, Greater Manchester ICB stands as both the largest employer – with 1,863 staff currently working – and the ICB with the greatest number of leavers over the last six months: 164.

Since July, the ICB has seen 98 people resign, 12 people made redundant and 15 people retire.

According to the ICB, Greater Manchester transferred staff from 10 CCGs – more than most – which may have resulted in a greater loss of senior leadership.

Healthcare Leader also understands that the ICB manages its HR, IT and finance in-house where other ICBs outsource these teams, in part accounting for its 1,347 administrative and clerical staff.

Lincolnshire ICB and Cheshire and Merseyside ICB each saw 104 and 101 people leave the organisation respectively.

A spokesperson for Cheshire and Merseyside said: ‘We recognise that the transition from nine CCGs into a single ICB has been a significant period of change which we continue to support colleagues through.

‘In percentage terms, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside does not have an unreasonably high staff turnover rate. We are proud of the commitment of all our colleagues and the work they do each day to help improve health and care outcomes and experiences for people across Cheshire and Merseyside.’

And a spokesperson from Lincolnshire ICB told Healthcare Leader that 76 of the resignations it received were due to the ICB shifting the provision of its Covid vaccination campaign to a community health trust.

In total, ICBs employ 2,074 nurses and midwives, while the majority of employees – 13,074 – are classed as administrative and clerical staff.

A further 777 medical and dental staff are directly employed by their ICB.

The five ICBs with the greatest number of staff are:

  1. Greater Manchester (1,863)
  2. West Yorkshire (1,211)
  3. Cheshire and Merseyside (1,076)
  4. North West London (920)
  5. North East London (873)

These ICBs also stand among the largest in terms of population served, with Greater Manchester covering 2.8 million people, West Yorkshire covering 2.4 million, and Cheshire and Merseyside serving 2.6 million.

ICBs provided staffing numbers across the following roles: additional professional scientific and technic; additional clinical services; administrative and clerical; allied health professionals; medical and dental; and registered nursing and midwifery.

Healthcare Leader’s investigation also indicated that there are at least 606 vacancies across ICBs in England.

Three ICBs were unable to respond to the FOI request in time: Herefordshire and Worcestershire ICB (800,888 population), Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB (1.8 million population), and Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICB (500,000 population).

A survey of more than 140 CCG leaders, conducted by Healthcare Leader in July, had previously revealed that more than a third (36%) would not be moving into an ICS role.

More than two-thirds (68%) of CCG staff at the time felt there would be a loss of clinical leadership as a result of the massive shake-up within the NHS.

ICBs are only required to have one primary care representative at board level.

In December, Dr David Wrigley, BMA GP Committee deputy chair, told MPs that clinical leadership ‘has been decimated’ by the shift.

He told the Health and Social Care Select Committee that ICBs are too large and remote and that colleagues feel there is a lack of transparency and accountability.

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