Labour said the Operating Framework for 2012/13 showed that the reorganisation will now cost around £3.5bn as it asks PCTs to hold back 2% of their recurrent funding. This money would be used to cover the costs of the reorganisation, the DoH has said.
The Labour party calculates that this equates to £3.44bn across all PCTs, taking the cost of the NHS reorganisation above the previous £2 to 3bn estimate ‘for the first time’.
Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said spending nearly £3.5bn on the reorganisation is ‘totally unjustifiable’ and called on the government to scrap the Health Bill.
He said: ‘It is scandalous that the government is spending £3.5bn on an unnecessary reorganisation when the NHS is facing the biggest financial challenge in its history.
‘If ever a reason was needed to stop this reorganisation then this is surely it. Right now every single penny should be focused on maintaining standards of care. This is a reorganisation that has no democratic mandate and was specifically ruled out by the Coalition Agreement.’
But a DoH spokeswoman said suggesting the reorganisation would cost £3.5bn is a 'large overestimate'.
She said: 'We anticipate costs of £1.2 to 1.3bn over the lifetime of parliament, which will be vastly outweighed by the savings. Over this Parliament, modernisation will save £3.2bn. We will save £1.5bn each year from 2014/15 onwards.'