Suffolk: MP condemns ‘profligate’ payoffs of almost £3m to NHS managers
11:26 04 November 2013
Archant © 2006
Fifteen NHS managers in the East of England each received a payoff of more than £100,000 in this year’s health service reshuffle, the EADT can reveal.
In total, almost £3million was paid out by the region’s health authorities in exit deals – a figure attacked last night by junior health minister Dr Dan Poulter as a “profligate waste of taxpayers’ money”.
In some cases, those made redundant have gone on to get other management jobs within the NHS.
Sir Neil McKay, the chief executive of NHS Midlands and East, received a redundancy payment of £407,746 and a payment in lieu of notice of £12,500 on March 31. The biggest single exit deal paid by NHS Suffolk before it was scrapped was between £100,000 and £150,000, and there was another manager paid up to £100,000. A total of almost £400,000 was paid out.
In north Essex, a total of £950,000 was paid out in 17 exit packages when the North East Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) was abolished.
One package was between £150,000 and £200,000 while six were paid between £50,000 and £100,000.
While all the payoffs are perfectly legal, the news has fuelled the debate over generous redundancy payouts to some senior NHS staff – particularly when many go on to work in other parts of the health service.
It has also emerged that Andrew Morgan, interim chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service since December last year on a salary of between £135,000 and £150,000, is entitled to a payoff from another NHS trust.
It is understood NHS Norfolk set aside more than £490,000 in its final accounts to compensate him for loss of office from his previous job as a chef executive of a cluster of PCTs. It is unclear whether it has been paid to him.
Last night, junior health minister Dr Dan Poulter, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP, said: “Clearly these sorts of big payoffs in the NHS and public sector are unacceptable and are a profligate waste of taxpayers’ money – money that should be spent on patients.
“The rules for these payoffs were set by the previous Labour government and we have inherited them.
“We are putting in place new arrangements to ensure these payoffs won’t happen again in the future.
“Unfortunately there are redundancy terms available – the sort that hard-working, frontline doctors and nurses could only dream of receiving – but the days of these payoffs are set to become a thing of the past.
“It’s something that many frontline staff and patients will be quite rightly outraged about, particularly when these people get their pay-off and then go and work at the NHS in another role.
“Effectively they are not made redundant.”
Dr Poulter also said that the total cost of redundancies in Suffolk is relatively small compared to other parts of the country.
The figures come at a time when Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has reported a £5.2m deficit just six months into the financial year, and there are concerns the amount of money spent on frontline workers could be slashed to make major savings.
Two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) replaced NHS Suffolk – one covering West Suffolk and the other Ipswich and East Suffolk.
A spokeswoman for both CCGs said: “Any massive change programme will see some redundancies.
“Suffolk PCT had few compulsory redundancies, and that meant knowledgeable staff have been retained in the CCGs.
“Suffolk PCT did a lot for the healthcare system, including clearing the historic debt which gave the CCGs a solid foundation on which to provide improvements in health care.”
Editorial comment – Page 34