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Department of Health to cut around 650 jobs

One of the Department of Health offices in the city. Credit: PA

The Department of Health is to cut around 650 jobs in a bid to reduce its running costs.

Jobs are expected to start being slashed in the autumn, as the department tries to reduce running costs by 30% over the next five years.

The number of non-senior staff at the department will be cut from 1,800 to 1,200-1,300 by April 2017, ITV News understands.

Three offices in London will be merged to one building at 39 Victoria Street.

Permanent Secretary, Una O'Brien, told ITV News it is "only right" the department takes its "fair share of the efficiency savings".

The Department of Health has an important role leading the health and care system in England to help people live better for longer.

It is only right that the DH should take its fair share of the efficiency savings.

Consolidating our estate on to fewer sites and reducing staff numbers will enable us to deliver efficiencies and provide the most effective service to the country.

– DoH Permanent Secretary, Una O'Brien

'Urgent action must be taken' on antibiotic resistance

The Department of Health said it is aware "urgent action" must be taken to control resistance to antibiotics or "we could face serious problems in years to come"

A spokeswoman said:

That is why the UK is working with WHO and international bodies to support global action.

The development of new antibiotics is key and we are identifying opportunities to promote this.

We have active programmes in all these areas, which together will help us stay one step ahead both nationally and internationally.

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Government wins vote on NHS Care Bill comfortably

In the end the Government won this vote comfortably despite the reservations of some backbenchers and Liberal Democrats. Less comfortable are likely to be the battles ahead over which departments to close in failing hospitals , or even in some which are quite successful.

Govt wins Commons vote 297 to 239 on NHS Care Bill

Labour has failed in a bid to halt plans the Opposition claimed would hand sweeping powers to ministers to close hospitals.The Government saw off an amendment which would have cut Trust Special Administration from the Care Bill, winning a Commons vote 297 to 239, majority 58.

Speaking earlier in the debate, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham compared Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to a burglar "changing the law to get his way", and warned the Government plans could see an otherwise good hospital closed because of its proximity to a failing one.

MPs to debate on hospital closure measure at 3pm

MPs will debate a controversial measure that would give ministers the power to close local hospital services in financially failing NHS Trusts.

Read: Labour appeals to MPs over power to close hospitals

Labour has said it will vote against the measure, clause 119, when it is debated later this afternoon. Labour whips said on Twitter that the debate is due to take place at 3pm, and the vote will take place at 6pm.

Tories accuse Labour of 'irresponsible scaremongering'

Labour's attempts to block clause 119 of the care bill, which would give ministers greater power to close down hospitals, is "irresponsible scaremongering of the worst kind".

A Conservative Party spokesman said:

These claims from Andy Burnham are irresponsible scaremongering of the worst kind - changes to the special administrator regime will simply ensure that patients get safe care, and these powers have only ever been used in extremis twice since 2009, when Labour introduced them in the first place.

This Government is determined to turn round failing hospitals, unlike the Opposition, which didn't confront the sort of under performance and failure we tragically saw at Mid Staffs.

– A Conservative Party spokesman

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Labour claims clause 119 will put 30 trusts 'at risk'

Some of the trusts Labour believe would be put "at risk" by clause 119 of the care bill are:

  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Barts Health NHS Trust
  • Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
  • East Cheshire NHS Trust
  • Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust
  • University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust
  • University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
  • Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
  • Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

NHS should be run for 'clinical not financial reasons'

Labour has accused the Government of neglecting the NHS' first responsibility to clinical care and instead, having a financial focus when making changes to hospitals.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said:

Jeremy Hunt wants to ride roughshod over local communities and have carte blanche to break up the NHS without anyone else having a say.

With more and more hospitals in financial difficulty, this move could hit every community in the land and leave them voiceless in the face of changes to their services.

Labour is clear: changes to hospitals should be driven by clinical, not financial, reasons with local people involved every step of the way.

That is why we believe these plans are dangerous and wrong. It is time for Parliament to stop an arrogant Secretary of State from overstepping the mark.

– Andy Burnham

Labour appeals to MPs over power to close hospitals

A general view of an Accident and Emergency sign. Credit: PA Wire

Labour is appealing for Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs to help block measures it says will give ministers sweeping powers to close hospitals.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said clause 119 of the Care Bill - due to be debated in the Commons today - would allow Jeremy Hunt to "ride roughshod" over local residents' concerns.

Govt rules out charging for A&E

Charging patients for A&E services "goes against the founding principles of the NHS" and the Government has "no plans" to introduce fees, despite GP support for the scheme, a department of health spokesman said.

Charging patients who use A&E goes against the founding principles of the NHS and there are no plans to introduce fees.

We know radical action is needed to tackle pressures on A&E. That's why we recently agreed a new GP contract, backed by doctors across the country, which will mean better care for older people out of hospital.

These changes are part of a longer-term plan to bring back the personal link with patients so GPs can focus on giving people the care they need and preventing unnecessary trips to hospital.

– A Department of Health spokesman
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