by Peter Wozniak
As many as 1,700 outsourced staff working at the Department of Health (DoH), including medical professionals, are to be made redundant, according to media reports.
The staff, employed by the DoH to work in a variety of programmes include health professionals, dentists and psychiatrists, are apparently to be sacked as a result of the coalition government's shake-up of the NHS.
According to the Guardian, the staff received a letter in June informing them that their jobs were at risk as a result of the new government's initiative.
As many as 2,000 staff are reportedly affected, though 300 of them are guaranteed job security as civil servants working on temporary programmes.
The workers are 'programme-funded', picked from within the NHS for particular expertise to advise and work in the civil service.
The health budget has been ring-fenced under a Conservative policy which survived the coalition agreement, meaning the job losses would result in a shift in resources away from programmes of the sort which hired the staff from the NHS.
Andrew Lansley's tenure as health secretary has endured criticism for the wide-ranging reforms proposed, to shift responsibility for managing funding to GPs that did not appear in either the Conservative manifesto or the coalition agreement.
The DoH has not commented directly on the media reports.