Ambulance service spent £6m on exit payments in just two years as crippling cost of restructuring revealed

East Anglian Ambulance Trust CEO Anthony Marsh. Photo: Steve Adams

East Anglian Ambulance Trust CEO Anthony Marsh. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

The crippling cost of restructuring has been laid bare by figures which show the region's ambulance service spent £6m on exit packages in just two years.

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Analysis of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust annual accounts, as part of day 4 of our series into public sector pay, shows it approved £2.6m in 2013/14 and £3.4m in 2014/15 in redundancy packages, a rise from £800,000 in 2012/13.

Some 51 members of staff received more than £50,000 for leaving their role, with 22 of those more than £100,000 and five more than £200,000.

This means 22 were above the £95,000 cap being proposed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for such packages in a bid to end the public sector payout culture.

The rise came during a period of great upheaval at the trust, especially at board level, which in 2013/14 saw 11 departures and 13 arrivals.

An East of England Ambulance Trust ambulance. Photograph Simon Parker

An East of England Ambulance Trust ambulance. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant


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That year also saw the appointment of Stephen Day, as interim director of finance and commercial service director, a role for which he received a wage of £245-250,000 for just 10 months work. Public bodies have been criticised for having too many expensive 'interim' roles.

When quizzed about the exit packages, a spokesman at the trust said: 'Vast restructure processes in this period were made in an attempt to invest more money into the front line aspect of the service – this included a combination of reducing the spend on agency and interim staff, ending a number of secondments and restructuring back office and management. The restructure led to a number of voluntary and compulsory redundancies to reinvest about £10m in front line services.

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'We are making very good progress on making permanent appointments within the executive team. Packages are overseen and signed off by the Trust Development Authority and calculated as per national NHS Terms and Conditions of Service arrangements; they are dependent on the staff member's salary and length of NHS service, as per national Agenda for Change guidance.'

During the five years covered by our investigation, the trust has seen repeated changes at the very top. In 2008/09 Hayden Newton was chief executive on £145,000 a year (£12,083 per month).

An East of England Ambulance. Photo: Steve Adams

An East of England Ambulance. Photo: Steve Adams

He left the trust in December 2012, receiving £100-105,000 for nine months work (£11,388 per month), and having accrued a pension pot of £1.3m.

Andrew Morgan took over but he left the trust a year later, having earned £105-110,000 for nine months work (£11,944 per month). His replacement Anthony Marsh was handed £45-50,000 for final three months of financial year (£15,833 per month).

As interim for 2014/15 he received £135-140,000 (£11,458 per month) - but this was on top of a salary for West Midlands Ambulance Service, which he continued to run, which took his overall pay to £232,000 (£19,333 per month). He was also claiming for hotel stays and taxis for journeying to the east for the role, which he gave up last year.

What do you think of our findings so far? Email david.powles@archant.co.uk

Tomorrow: The six-figure payouts within the mental health trust and the university where high earners doubled in just five years.

Click here to see the figures in full

NHS NORFOLK SHAKE UP COST MILLIONS

A shake-up of Norfolk's health services saw eight members of staff allocated just over £1.2m in total in compensation packages, annual accounts reveal.

When NHS Norfolk was wound up in 2012/13, several six-figure 'loss of office' payments were set aside, the highest of which was £492,000 to Andrew Morgan, who was a chief executive at the trust but on secondment from the East of England Ambulance Service.

Mr Morgan was allocated the money but did not receive it. He said: 'I did not receive any redundancy or loss of office payment following the dissolution of NHS Norfolk. Provision was made in the accounts for a potential redundancy cost to the Trust of £492,000 in respect of my employment. This potential amount was based on my salary, length of service and age. As I secured an alternative role in the NHS there was no need for me to be made redundant and I therefore received no redundancy or loss of office payment.'

Ann Dray, interim director of corporate affairs, received a £105,000-£110,000 salary in 2012/13 but also £305,000-£310,000 compensation for loss of office, while Maureen Carson, director of nursing, quality and patient safety, was allocated £115,000-£120,000 but entitled to a £225,000-£230,000 payout for loss of office.

Meanwhile, two members of NHS Norfolk management received five-figure loss of earnings packages, despite going into roles within the Clinical Commissioning Groups which replaced them (CCGs).

One was on a salary in 2012/13 of £40,000-£45,000 as clinical cabinet member for NHS Norfolk and despite receiving a £45,000-£50,000 loss of earnings package, was then made an elective governor for Norwich CCG on £65,000-£70,000. The other, also an elected governor, went from a salary of £55,000-£60,000 to £65,000-£70,000 despite a £50,000-£55,000 loss of office package.

As our investigations have found, restructuring pays highly for the individuals involved, with Rob Garner, interim managing director of NHS Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) paid £285,000-£290,000 in 2012/13 to help process the change. In its final year as NHS Norfolk, five members of staff received salaries of £100,000 or above. Now, across the five CCGs, there are six people on that figure.

The highest paid member for each CCG in 2014/15 ranged from £135,000-£140,000 for the accountable officer at Yarmouth CCG to £110,000-£115,000 for the CEO of Norwich CCG.

Meanwhile, in 2013/14, under the heading 'taxable benefits', 11 senior managers at Yarmouth and Waveney received £19,800 between them on top of their annual pay, the highest of which was £4,300 to accountable officer George Andrew Evans. A year later that figure was £16,100 but classed as 'expense payments' with Mr Evans alone claiming £3,300.

Earlier this year, as part of a campaign to save a £120,000 mental health support line, we revealed how senior managers at South, North, Norwich and West CCGs had shared £155,000 in pay rises between 2013/14 and 2014/15. Two senior members of Yarmouth CCG management also received £5,000 rises in the same period.

A spokesman said of the rises: 'Senior staff are remunerated in line with national guidance and their remuneration is agreed by Remuneration Committees and scrutinised by independent auditors. In some cases in an annual report, it looks like a person received a greater sum than the earlier year but this was because they worked more days/weeks in the second year.'

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital did not respond to our Freedom of Information request for information relating to high earners. Its response to our specific questions did not come in time for publication, but is carried below...

Q- In other hospitals the number of £100k-plus earners has risen significantly in the last five years. Is this the case at the Norfolk and Norwich and if so why?

A - 'In 2012 the Trust employed 238 consultant doctors in this pay bracket. In the last four years the number of outpatient appointments has risen by 39pc, the number of A&E attendances by 42pc and the number of day case patients has risen by 46pc.

'To care for all these extra patients we have employed more doctors and specialist clinical staff and the number paid over £100,000 is now 277.

'This is in accordance with national pay scales and reflects the increasing demand for the specialist services offered by the Trust to its patients.'

Q- The trust spent £4M in four years on exit packages including six over £100k and two over £150k. How are these figures determined?

A - 'In fact our termination benefits in this period were £1.8M. The provisions for exit packages in our accounts included costs associated with the restructuring of regional pathology services which the Trust was asked to host on behalf of the health service in Norfolk.

'In common with other trusts, over the last few years the trust has run a scheme of voluntary redundancy to help improve efficiency, especially when services are being restructured.

'Any sums to which staff may be entitled in these circumstances will reflect the legal terms of their contracts, their annual salaries and number of their years of service to the NHS.

'Lord Carter's review which reported earlier this year demonstrated that this Trust is significantly more efficient than the national benchmark (by a magnitude of 7p in every £1 spent).'

Q- The pay for the chief executive rose from £180-185k in 2012/13 to £190-195k in 2014/15. How was this rise decided?

A - 'The trust has a Remuneration Committee which decides on executive pay taking into account local circumstances and national benchmarks and pay awards. The national pay awards for NHS staff over this period were in the region of 1pc per annum.'

Q- Many other NHS organisations allow members of staff to work off-payroll, even though the Local Government Association has advised against them as they an incur higher costs. The NNUH has a policy which doesn't allow this. Why?

A - 'We do not know what other organisations do but as a general rule this is not something that we wish to do.'

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