December 4 2013 Latest news:
Monday, November 4, 2013
Eight board members were earmarked for ‘golden goodbyes’ worth a total of more than £1.2m because Norfolk primary care trusts were disbanded, new figures have revealed.
Of the total, £492,000 was set aside as compensation payable to the current interim chief executive of East of England Ambulance Trust, a former chief executive at the trusts, even though he is still employed with the health service.
While it is not clear if Andrew Morgan has received that payment, two of the county’s MPs have hit out at the culture within the NHS, where people can leave one section with payment and quickly pop up in another part of the service.
NHS Norfolk and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney were abolished in March, as part of a shake-up which saw the creation of GP-led clinical commissioning groups.
According to the final annual reports of the two PCTs, which were published last week, there were eight board members who were entitled to compensation for loss of post.
Mr Morgan, who took over as head of the troubled ambulance service in December, was among them, having been chief executive of the two trusts.
He was seconded from NHS Norfolk and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney to the Strategic Health Authority in September last year, before switching to the ambulance trust a couple of months later.
And, in the final report of the two trusts, which were wound up in March this year, it emerged that Mr Morgan was entitled to a redundancy payment of between £490,000 and £495,000.
That NHS Norfolk report, dating from June, stated that the compensation for loss of office had been provided for, but not paid.
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “Andrew joined EEAST as chief executive in December 2012. The redundancy arrangement is with former primary care trust NHS Norfolk & Waveney which was wound up in March this year.”
We asked if we could speak to Mr Morgan to establish whether he had been paid the compensation package subsequent to the NHS Norfolk annual report in June, but the spokesman said Mr Morgan was on holiday abroad.
Another payment budgeted for by the primary care trusts for loss of office were £228,000 for Maureen Carson, cluster deputy chief executive at NHS Norfolk and NHS Yarmouth and Waveney and director of nursing, quality and patient safety.
Anne Dray, the interim director of corporate affairs at NHS Norfolk, was in line for a £310,000 pay-off. She recently started work on a consultant contract with the Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group.
The other compensation for loss of office payments outlined in the NHS Norfolk report were for a number of clinical cabinet board members.
They were £50,000 - £55,000 to Dr Chris Francis (clinical executive chairman and former interim joint chairman of the Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group); £45,000 - £50,000 to Dr Cath Robinson (also former interim joint chairman of the Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group); £65,000 - £70,000 to nurse representative Rebecca Judge; £40,000 - £45,000 to Cathal Daly, now the prescribing and care lead at South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group) and £17,000 to Dr Victoria Holliday,
Two Norfolk MPs have said the culture of the NHS, with contracts which place no restrictions on people receiving payments from being re-employed by other arms of the health service, needs to change. Richard Bacon, Conservative MP for South Norfolk, and a member of the government’s public accounts committee, said: “It’s not right, but this sort of thing is going on. It’s a bigger issue than one trust or one person in an organisation.
“The public accounts committee has been looking at severance payments in the BBC and elsewhere and getting the information is like pulling wisdom teeth.
“When the NHS reforms started, I remember speaking to my colleagues on the committee and saying that a lot of the people would disappear and pop up again somewhere else.
“It’s the way employment law is constructed which means they can get away with it. People say why isn’t that changed and I say amen to that. I think people at the top of government have only just realised the scale of the problem.
“We, on the public accounts committee are looking at it, in the NHS and in local government. I think taxpayers are sick of it.”
Health minister and North Norfolk Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said: “I think the culture in the NHS has got to change. I do think it is pretty hard to justify if someone is returning to a very senior job after getting a compensation payment.
“This is public money we are talking about.”