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The Department of Health has been accused of squandering almost £2bn on 'unnecessary' staff cuts. Getty

NHS redundancies have cost the Department of Health £1.8bn since controversial reforms started in 2010.

The bill was run up by axing more than 44,000 workers, some of whom received payoffs of £200,000.

Figures show 5,500 people who were made redundant have since found work elsewhere in the NHS and some £220m was spent on staff redundancies in 2014/15.

Shadow health secretary and Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham criticised the spending.

"No wonder morale in the NHS is at rock bottom," he told Sky News. "This was a reorganisation that didn't need to happen.

"They've thrown money at redundancies, given people payoff cheques like confetti at the NHS at a time when we're not doing right by the staff of the National Health Service."

The Department of Health has undergone sweeping changes since the came to power. Primary Care Trusts were abolished and replaced with local Clinical Commissioning Groups and GPs were handed greater control over spending.

In the last five years, more than 3,000 staff received more than £100,000 in redundancy payments and of those, 475 received amounts above £200,000 – almost £60,000 more than David Cameron's salary.

The Department of Health said reforms have saved £6.9bn and cost less than originally estimated.