Cash-strapped Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust spends £307,500 on one redundancy

The trust runs Hellesdon Hospital. Photo: Bill Smith

The trust runs Hellesdon Hospital. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2012

Norfolk and Suffolk's mental health provider, which is being investigated for running up a £2m deficit, paid £8.8 million in exit and redundancy payments last year - more than anyone else in the country.

It meant almost a tenth of all staff severance payments paid out by NHS foundation trusts came from the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) in 2013/14. Across the country £92.4m was paid, according to analysis by the Health Service Journal (HSJ).

The year before, severance payments cost the NSFT £8.2m.

The trust said the huge figure was down to merging Norfolk and Suffolk mental health services in January 2012 and making people redundant to find savings.

The huge redundancy bill included £307,500 paid to one director. Daren Clark, director of operations for specialised services in Suffolk, received the highest payment of anyone made redundant by a foundation trust in the country last year. His redundancy package included pension contributions.

It was one of three redundancy payments made by the trust of more than £200,000.

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The £8.8 million was paid to 213 staff, of whom 84 were made compulsorily redundant.

'All of the payments were contractual as per NHS policies on redundancy payments,' the trust's director of finance Andrew Hopkins said.

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He added there had been an 'overspill' last financial year in payments from redundancies made in 2012.

On Thursday, health regulator Monitor announced it would investigate the trust for falling into a deficit of almost £2m so far this financial year. The NSFT had forecast a financial surplus by October.

Terry Skyrme, from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: 'It is just a phenomenal amount. I think it is a national scandal, the amount management is paid in salaries and redundancy payments.'

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