Revealed: The six figure payouts for staff leaving the Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust

Michael Scott, chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust . Photo: Steve Adams

Michael Scott, chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust . Photo: Steve Adams

Two consultants involved in a 'strategic reorganisation' which saw hundreds of jobs axed at the region's mental health trust, each received payouts worth more than £200,000.

Day five of our five-part series into public sector pay can reveal that the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) spent a total of £20.5m on exit packages between 2011 and 2015, the latest figures available. Some 46 of these payouts cost six-figure sums, including five valued at more than £200,000.

It said the redundancies were part of its Trust Service Strategy (TSS) reorganisation, which resulted in 'significant redundancies'. The trust has since been placed in special measures, where it currently remains.

Two of the highest redundancy packages, of £200,000 or more, were paid in 2013/14 to consultants involved in that reorganisation. The other £200,000-plus exit package that year went to an associate director who lost his role due to the trust merger in 2012.

The Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk described the scale of the payments as 'shocking'.

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'We've seen too much reward for failure at the top of NSFT,' a spokesman for the campaign said.

'Meanwhile, those who rely on mental health services and front line staff pay the price of underfunding and millions wasted on making staff redundant despite hundreds of vacancies.'

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The reorganisation, which came about in 2012 when it was announced the NSFT had to make savings of around £40m from its £220m annual budget over a four year period, has been criticised for the loss of experienced staff. Median staff pay reduced from £26,557 to £22,517 during this period.

However, senior NSFT staff saw their six-figure salaries increase. Former chief executive Aidan Thomas earned £135-£140,000 in 2010/11, whereas the trust confirmed his successor, Michael Scott, is now paid £14,583 a month (£175,000 a year), a rise of 25pc in five years.

An NSFT spokesman said Mr Scott's salary had not changed in the past two years, while directors' pay had been frozen for four years, and had been determined by a committee of the board's non-executive directors.

'The policy is to offer a fair remuneration for the level of responsibility carried and consistent with other comparable NHS trusts,' the spokesman added.

Figures provided by the trust show it had 52 staff on £100,000 or more in 2013/14 and 61 a year later.

Several senior staff who worked at the trust during this time have been able to amass pension pots of more than £1m. Hadrian Ball retired from his medical director's role with a £1.4m pension pot; Mr Thomas' pension value stood at £1m when he stood down and Mr Scott's had reached £1.3m by 2014/15.

Mr Ball is also shown on annual reports to have received six figure payments as 'other benefits' or fees. The NSFT said this was due to his 'split role' of trust medical director and senior practising clinician.

Mr Scott also received 'other remuneration' valued at £10,700; £8,000 of this related to a 'relocation allowance', despite the fact that Mr Scott's previous role was with the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, which also has its headquarters in Norwich. A further £2,700 was for leasing a car.

Two senior members of NSFT staff were shown to have worked 'off-payroll' in 2014/15, despite the government advising against the practice because of tax concerns.

An NSFT spokesman said: 'We have put measures in place to avoid individuals working off-payroll, for example, where possible, moving individuals on to fixed term contracts.

'However there were two occurrences where one staff member covered the director of finance role while the latter was acting chief executive and one staff member covered the head of ICT role.'

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