Suffolk/Essex: Annual ambulance service report shows senior Trust figures received ‘golden goodbyes’ of more than £200,000 last year

Anthony Marsh, CEO of the East of England Ambulance Service. Anthony Marsh, CEO of the East of England Ambulance Service.

Saturday, July 26, 2014
8:00 AM

The beleaguered East of England Ambulance Service has given two senior managers pay-offs of more than £200,000, the EADT can reveal today.

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Dr Dan Poulter MPDr Dan Poulter MP

The ‘golden goodbyes’, revealed in the annual report of the struggling service, came under fire from a health minister last night who called for an end to the bumper compensation packages.

In addition to the highest pay-outs, three senior members of the Trust received exit packages of between £150,001 – £200,000 and seven received payments of between £100,001 – £150,000.

Health minister and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP, Dan Poulter, criticised the spend, saying it is vital funds go towards frontline services, but acknowledged high exit packages were a general issue within the NHS.

He added: “Every available penny needs to go into frontline patient care and the historical problem with the ambulance service is that they have treated managers far too well and that has been to the detriment of investment in frontline paramedics.

“I think they are making an improvement in investment. We need to support them in making changes but we need to hear less about managers receiving eye-watering payments and more in frontline services.

“There are too many managers and not enough frontline staff.”

It has also emerged the interim director of finance and commercial delivery at the service brought in last year was on a salary of between £245,000 to £250,000 a year before leaving the Trust. His salary was £100,000 more than the prime minister.

The news comes in the same week the salary of the ambulance service’s chief executive, Anthony Marsh, was criticised by an MP, and the poor response times of ambulances in Suffolk came under fresh scrutiny.

Dr Poulter added that he was aware the work currently being undertaken at the Trust could mean performance would not see any major improvements for a certain period of time, but that he would expect to start seeing improvements in the first half of next year.

Dr Marsh previously admitted improvements still needed to be made but that initiatives such as the drive for student paramedics will be a big boost to the service.

In a statement, a spokesman for the ambulance service said: “Redundancy and other ‘departure’ costs are paid in line with NHS policy and some costs are associated with the national Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme (MARS) which helps NHS organisations going through restructures to allow people to leave under certain conditions.

“Salaries are in line with similar very high level key roles in public bodies and other ambulance services nationally. Pay reflects responsibility, accountability, expertise and experience which is essential to help oversee the delivery of our priority which is to increase frontline staffing and ambulance cover to improve services to patients.

“We have already recruited more than 350 student paramedics and are on track to generate more than £8million in management and back-office savings – money that can be invested in more frontline staffing.”

The Trust’s annual meeting will take place at Trinity Park on Wednesday.

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