Huge cost of NHS redundancies

SUFFOLK'S debt-ridden health system has paid out more than £1.17m in the last two years on redundancies alone, it emerged today.The huge figure emerged after a Freedom of Information request to the county's hospitals and primary care trusts.

SUFFOLK'S debt-ridden health system has paid out more than £1.17m in the last two years on redundancies, it emerged today.

The huge figure emerged after a Freedom of Information request to the county's hospitals and primary care trusts.

The Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) spent the most on redundancies over 2004/05 and 2005/06, at a cost of £616,244.

In that time, the PCT and its predecessors - Suffolk West, Central Suffolk, Ipswich, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney - made 12 people redundant.

Over the same period West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds forked out £485,767 on 26 redundancies.

There were also five voluntary redundancies at Ipswich Hospital, at a cost of £77,331.

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Gary Theobald, head of corporate policy and human resources for Suffolk Primary Care Trust, said said: “Savings made as a result of redundancies will be used to improve local health services.”

A West Suffolk Hospital spokeswoman said: “As with the rest of the health service, we were reluctant to lose any posts and those we did lose were as a last resort.

“Any redundancies we made had a 'payback' period of less than two years, which means the cost of the redundancy would be recouped within that time.”

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, stressed the cost of the redundancies would be more than covered in the long run.

She said: “We've had a restructure of senior management throughout the hospital which means we have 14 fewer posts - which will far compensate for the cost of £77,000. We're reducing our workforce by 10pc and we can say already that what we are doing is significantly relieving our financial position.”

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