Union blasts health manager payouts

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PAYOUTS for NHS health managers totalling millions of pounds have been criticised.

More than £3.2million was spent laying off staff from Sunderland Primary Care Trust (PCT), with the figure in County Durham more than £5.7million.

The average payout at Sunderland PCT was £49,000, with County Durham’s average £59,000.

However, many of those staff who were laid off are now expected to be hired by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which are replacing PCTs.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which has unearthed the statistics, labelled them “scandalous”.

Glenn Turp, the union’s regional director for the North East, said: “The Government claims that its changes to the NHS are all about using money more wisely and targeting limited resources at the front line.

“But it is clear that very large sums are being spent on laying off managers.

“Secondly, as if this were not bad enough, many of the very same managers who were working for the PCTs are now getting new jobs working for the Government’s new Clinical Commissioning Groups. While there is nothing illegal about this practice, it does raise the question of why managers were being laid off in the first place, when in some cases, a matter of weeks later, they were being re-employed by the Clinical Commissioning Groups.”

The payout bill in County Durham was the second highest in England after Camden, in London, spent £6.3million on making staff redundant.

Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield, argued that the payouts were totally at odds with Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s proposals to cut administration costs within the Health Service.

Mr Wilson said: “The information revealed to me by the RCN shows the real waste the Government’s top down re-organisation of the NHS is costing the tax-payer.

“Many of those made redundant are being re-employed by the new commissioning consortia only weeks after receiving massive payouts.

“The Government talks about reducing bureaucracy, but all it is doing is replacing one bureaucracy with another.

“It is bureaucracy gone mad.

“To save costs the Secretary of State should be looking at ways of transferring staff from primary care trusts to the new commissioning groups.”

A spokeswoman for NHS South of Tyne and Wear said: “The 12 primary care trusts (PCTs) in the region, including NHS South of Tyne and Wear, were required by the Department of Health to collectively deliver annual management cost savings of £27million by April 2011 to meet the challenges of a difficult economic environment.

“In order to reduce costs to the required level, NHS South of Tyne and Wear, along with the Strategic Health Authorities and PCTs across the region, revised their management structure and invited expressions of interest from those staff wishing to be considered for redundancy.

“We worked closely with staff side representatives to support staff through this challenging period and the majority of redundancies were made through voluntary redundancy.”

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