NHS trust hands out more than £4m in redundancy cash

First published in News by , Senior Reporter

TEN NHS managers at the trust that runs Basingstoke hospital were handed £100,000 after their positions were axed, it has been revealed.

And other bosses who managed the merger of the Basingstoke and Winchester hospital trusts have been handed substantial bonuses.

New figures from the annual accounts reveal that Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), which was formed a year ago, has so far spent £4.1million on redundancy payments to 85 staff – including five senior nurse managers.

This works out at an average of more than £48,000 each, but the biggest individual payout was between £140,000 and £145,000.

David French, financial director at the trust, said the redundancies had been “uncomfortable” for everyone and were avoided as much as possible because they were expensive. But he did not rule out more job losses. He said the job cuts would save £3.5m in 2012-13, and slightly more in future years.

The figures show that the trust, which now runs Basingstoke, Winchester, and the Andover War Memorial hospitals, spent £3.5m on pay-offs to 73 staff in 2011-12, including 33 senior managers and 33 administration and clerical staff. But 10 of these staff were handed cash sums ranging from £100,000 to £145,000, and another 19 received redundancy packages between £50,000 and £100,000.

In addition, pay-offs totalling £600,000 have been agreed for 12 staff this financial year (2012-2013), with the prospect of more redundancy payouts to come.

Most of the job cuts were in the administrative and IT back-office departments after Basingstoke and North Hampshire NHS Foundation Trust acquired Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare Trust in January 2012.

Under NHS terms and conditions, staff who have been made redundant are entitled to one month’s pay for every year they have worked, capped at two years’ salary.

HHFT said departing staff were divided across Basingstoke and Winchester hospital sites and most were compulsory redundancies. The new organisation has a budget of £300m and 5,000 staff.

Commenting on the scale of the redundancy pay-offs, Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said it was important the public sector pay bill was cut, which would involve redundancy pay-outs.

But he added: “With 30 staff at just one NHS trust in Hampshire receiving packages of £50,000 or more, it shows that the guidelines for drawing up these contracts are outdated and in need of drastic reform.”

The figures in the trust’s annual accounts show that four Basingstoke directors received generous bonuses on top of their six-figure salaries for organising the takeover.

Director of nursing Donna Green, above, was handed between £15,000 and £20,000 for acting as chief executive during the planning stage, while chief executive Mary Edwards, medical director Andrew Bishop, and chief finance officer Mr French, each received between £10,000 and £15,000.

The takeover was prompted by the Govern-ment’s plan for all trusts to become foundation trusts by 2016. As a result the debt-ridden Winchester and Eastleigh health trust was abolished, but most of its directors were on temporary contracts, including acting chief executive Chris Gordon, and not in-line for redundancy pay-offs.

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