The Times reports that Senior NHS staff have been given redundancy payouts far higher than the NHS’s £160,000 cap after their money was topped up with extra payments in lieu of their notice periods. There have been 11 cases in the past three years where senior staff at clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), the GP-led bodies in charge of health services in local areas, have received payments totalling more than £160,000, nine of which exceeded £200,000, the Health Service Journal found.
NHS rules state that staff will receive a redundancy payout of one month’s pay for every year worked. This is capped at 24 months of pay at a maximum annual salary ceiling of £80,000, equalling a maximum payout of £160,000 for a single redundancy. This cap does not include any additional money, such as payments made in lieu of an employee’s notice period or for their annual leave.
The Health Service Journal
found that two members of staff at East Staffordshire CCG, the accountable officer and the chief financial officer, left with payouts of £259,689 and £202,183 respectively. NHS England conducted an investigation into the payouts and concluded that they were in line with “prior contractual requirements” and did not constitute a breach of the cap.
The East Staffordshire group said “There is an ongoing review into this matter and we are therefore unable to comment further at this time”. In Derbyshire, where four clinical commissioning groups merged into one, more than £600,000 of payouts were made across three redundancies. Derbyshire CCG said the payments were part of a merger that reduced duplication and costs and that the payouts were approved by remuneration committees.
An accountable officer at Darlington CCG received a £160,000 redundancy payment and an additional payment in lieu of £60,427. The group said that it was in line with NHS policy. “As this issue relates to an individual’s personal circumstances, it would be inappropriate to comment further on this situation” it added.
Beyond the 11 cases of payouts above £160,000, there were 22 payouts made of £160,000, the Health Service Journal found. In one case, at Trafford CCG, the payout was subject to a non-disclosure agreement between the employee and the clinical commissioning group. The group said this was “a result of decisions made by the governing body in place at the CCG at that time” and that its accounts were approved by external auditors.
In 2017-18 the chief officer at Wigan Borough CCG received a payout of £220,476 including payments in lieu of notice and annual leave. The group said this was seen as appropriate because of the start date of the new incumbent and the pace of change!
James Roberts of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which campaigns for a low-tax society, said “Taxpayers will be furious to see CCG directors . . . being discharged from their duties with inflated payouts. With a clear cap in place to protect the public purse, health managers should not be leveraging loopholes and cashing out with payments that many of their patients could only dream of”.
We might as well ask, without much hope of receiving an answer, what on earth allows so much public money that should be spent on patients and far less paid staff, be kept secret and unaccountable?