By TOM Bristow
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
An NHS Trust spent a seven-figure sum on making a handful of staff redundant as part of a merger designed to save money.
NHS Norfolk and Waveney Primary Care Trust (PCT) spent £1,091,000 in the last financial year to lay off 17 staff.
The trust said the compulsory redundancies were mainly made as part of Norfolk PCT merging with Great Yarmouth and Waveney to form one PCT last year.
The PCTs, which buy health care contracts for the community, came under the leadership of one executive team, in a move to cut management costs, but it resulted in senior staff leaving and large redundancy payouts.
The trust refused to give out further details about the redundancies, but the payouts amounted to an average of £64,000 per staff member.
Under government rules, NHS staff made redundant should receive one month’s pay for each year they have worked, with a maximum of 24 months of pay.
Unions blamed the government cuts for forcing the expense of making staff redundant on the trust.
Jeff Keighley, Unison’s regional representative for health workers, said: “It was inevitable that they would be paying out this sort of money on redundancy.
“They would be people with a lot of service. It is sad really. If somebody has 24 years of service then the payouts are reasonable.
“You have to understand that these people have employment rights.”
Health minister and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said the PCT mergers would save money in the long term.
Compulsory redundancies cost £943,000 for 14 staff at NHS Norfolk and £148,000 for three staff at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, according to figures released in Parliament.
Suffolk PCT spent £271,000 on compulsory redundancies last year and Cambridgeshire PCT spent nothing.