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Health bosses pocket huge 'golden goodbyes'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 11, 2013

  • Sir Ian Carruthers

  • Sir Ian Carruthers

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A controversial shake-up of the NHS cost the Westcountry's health service nearly £10 million in redundancy payouts, with one executive walking away with a bumper £450,000 settlement.

At a time of scything cuts across the board, the Western Morning News can reveal details of the eye-watering golden-goodbyes in which ten health bosses in the region pocketed payouts of more than £200,000.

Meanwhile, another nine received severance deals of between £150,000 and £200,000.

Former Health Minister Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, condemned the "scandalous" payouts at a time when A&Es face crisis, and blamed the coalition Government's "unnecessary" NHS reorganisation.

Graham Webster, chairman of the campaign group Health Initiative Cornwall, said the deals were "nothing short of outrageous."

He added: "This money has come from the public purse. It would have been better spent in hospitals or providing healthcare."

Details of the payouts were disclosed in just-published annual reports for the South West regional authority and local health trusts for 2012-13, just before the bodies were scrapped this spring.

They reveal a £450,000 "golden goodbye" handed to Sir Ian Carruthers on leaving his post as chief executive of the abolished South West Strategic Health Authority (SHA).

In a statement, a spokesman for Sir Ian told the WMN the amount was "factual and it was a redundancy payment. Any work he has done for the NHS since redundancy is in an advisory capacity and has been unremunerated".

Director of workforce development at the same authority, Sue Webb, was given severance of around £290,000.

The WMN was unable to contact Mrs Webb.

However a spokesman for NHS England confirmed the figure was accurate and that Mrs Webb had received her "contractual entitlement".

He said she had not worked for NHS England since accepting the payout.

Five other senior members of staff at the SHA were lined up for redundancy pay-offs of up to £20,000, however they did not collect the money after accepting new posts within the health service.

The SHA and six primary care trusts (PCT) in the region between them dished out redundancy payments of more than £200,000 to ten bosses.

A further nine pocketed between £150,000 and £200,000.

While the SHA discloses what amounts named senior managers received in redundancy packages, the PCT accounts only give anonymous details of how many people received different quantities of cash.

The row over generous pay-offs exploded at Prime Minister's Questions last week when Labour leader Ed Miliband criticised the Prime Minister's "botched reorganisation" for "giving P45s to nurses and six-figure pay-offs to managers".

He claimed – citing a written parliamentary question – that more than 2,000 people have been made redundant and rehired, which is "diverting money from the frontline as you sack nurses".

But Mr Cameron pointed out that there are 20,000 fewer administrative-grade employees in the NHS.

Mr Cameron said: "We are saving £4.5 billion by reducing the number of managers in our NHS and for the first time anyone re-employed has to pay back part of the money they were given.

"That never happened under Labour."

Labour's Mr Bradshaw said last night: "This is exactly what we warned would happen as a result of the Government's botched and unnecessary upheaval of the NHS.

"It is scandalous, with money so tight, waiting times rising and A&E under such pressure for so much money to have been wasted on a massive re-organisation nobody voted for. It will take the next Labour Government to save the NHS again."

But Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter has previously hit back at the suggestions, saying the coalition Government was having to foot a big one-off bill to "dismantle Labour's bloated bureaucracy".

A spokesman for NHS England said: "The payments referred to were made by the strategic health authority which ceased to exist from March 31, 2013, and would have been governed by contractual agreements.

"Neither Sir Ian Carruthers nor Sue Webb are employed by NHS England."

PAYOUTS BY NHS TRUSTThe South West Strategic Health Authority offered 17 exit packages – totalling £2 million – but five were not taken up. The pay-offs to former Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT) senior managers totalled £3.1 million in 2012/13. There were 36 deals, including: Two packages worth more than £200,000.Five between £150,000 and 200,000.Three between £100,000 and 150,000.Twelve between £50,000 and 100,000.Somerset PCT issued 14 exit packages costing £1.7 million, including: Three worth more than £200,000. Two between £150,000 and 200,000.Two between £100,000 and 150,000.Three between £50,000 and 100,000.At the former Cornwall PCT, a total of £896,000 in termination benefits were agreed with nine staff, including: One exit package worth more than £200,000.Two between £150,000 and 200,000.Three between £50,000 and 100,000.Plymouth PCT paid out eight exit packages costing £887,000, including: One package worth more than £200,000.Three between £100,000 and 150,000.Three between £50,000 and 100,000.Dorset PCT paid out £660,000 to 19 managers, including:One exit package worth more than £200,000.Two between £50,000 and 100,000.At Torbay PCT, 14 exit packages were disclosed costing £570,000, including: Seven packages worth between £50,000 and £100,000.The PCTs have been replaced by GP-led clinical commissioning groups.

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  • LucienH  |  November 11 2013, 6:29PM

    How can this be right, what a waste of money. 😠

  • DipStick  |  November 11 2013, 12:59PM

    To be honest, if I was handed a contract that said that if I was made redundant/sacked/whatever I would get £250K I would sign it on the spot. A better result from this farce would be that a) the people within the NHS/government/whoever that negotiated such contracts should be sacked and b) future contracts should have normal severance terms only (i.e. just like you and me have). IF the NHS only recruits top managers and so they haveto pay the requisite salaries that's fine, but if they are made redundant then, as they're so in-demand, then they won't b eout of work long will they ... ? :-) As for the comments mainly about Tories and their expenses, how about Labour's rental of union buildings for MP's offices, so that 'office expenses' go sdraight to the union? How about the £15M or so of debt to the co-op bank which makes them desperate to not have the bank go bust? etc etc. They're all the bleddy same - all out for what they can get and s*d the rest of us, no matter what party they say they represent. The sooner people get away from voting on 'tribal' grounds the sooner we can start to sort out the country's problems! DS

  • josdave  |  November 11 2013, 11:58AM

    As for the MPs who claim their energy bills on expenses they should be named and shamed so maybe someone should ring up the Telegraph and suggest that. They would then be hard pushed to keep their seats in 2015 and maybe, just maybe, that would send a message to al the other scroungers out there.

    |   6
  • nickthompson  |  November 11 2013, 11:50AM

    groundnut: It would appear that Cornish Tories don't like you criticising call me Dave.

    |   3
  • TimHamer  |  November 11 2013, 10:39AM

    The last person to enter parliament with honest intentions was Guy Fawkes.

    |   8
  • groundnut  |  November 11 2013, 10:20AM

    An Adviser to David Cameron says it all.

    |   2
  • groundnut  |  November 11 2013, 10:19AM

    An adviser to David Cameron has apologised after claiming on expenses for the electricity bill at the stables of his country estate. Nadhim Zahawi, a founder of YouGov, the market research company, said that he was "mortified" after it emerged that he claimed £5,822 for heating oil and electricity at his second home — more than any other MP. Mr Zahawi, the MP for Stratford-on-Avon, was recently appointed to the No 10 policy board to draw up plans for the next manifesto. In a statement on his website, he said: "Since last week's coverage of my energy bills ... I can confirm that all claims for heating fuel relate purely to my second home. "However I have made a mistake with my electricity claims. "The electricity supply for a mobile home located in the stable yard and for the stables themselves was linked to my house. "Whilst a meter was installed in the stable yard I have only been receiving one bill. It was wrong to assume I was receiving two and to have not checked this sooner. "I am mortified by this mistake and apologise unreservedly for it." He added that he would repay the money. About 340 MPs, including government ministers, have used the parliamentary expenses system to recoup the cost of heating their second homes.

    |   1
  • nickthompson  |  November 11 2013, 9:07AM

    Politicians have claimed up to £6,000 each for gas and electricity in their second homes, leaving hard-pressed taxpayers to pick up the bill. Some 340 MPs, some of them multi-millionaires, have taken advantage of the perk at a time when many people are struggling to pay rising utility bills.--------------------And there are reams more,-----------------------Just how much longer will it be before us PLEBS take to the street's?

    |   11
  • nickthompson  |  November 11 2013, 9:03AM

    And a few more-------------- Tory to be sued by expenses watchdog over £54,000 profit on taxpayer-funded home as it is revealed MPs made £1m profit through selling property.---------Don't read to much into the word Tory, MPs of ALL parties are at it.

    |   6
  • nickthompson  |  November 11 2013, 8:59AM

    And here's another one from the Public Sector, not content with the salary of £65,738 PLUS all expenses. Millionaire Tory MP has admitted making an expenses claim for the electricity used by his horse riding business and a yard manager's mobile home. Nadhim Zahawi had the highest energy expenses of any politician, a newspaper report revealed.

    |   9