Almost £3 million of taxpayers’ money was spent on redundancy payoffs for NHS staff in Sheffield ahead of a big shake-up of the city’s health services.
Data obtained through The Star’s Your Right To Know campaign shows £2.8m was paid to health workers over the last two years, before responsibility for health spending was handed to the new NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group from the old primary care trust.
From March 2011 until April 1 this year, 48 staff were made redundant from the health service in Sheffield.
Ian Atkinson, accountable officer at the Clinical Commissioning Group, said primary care trusts across the country were required to reduce spending on staff, and all payouts came from ‘non-recurrent budgets’.
From 2011-12, £1.7m was spent on redundancy packages, and from 2012-13, £1.12m. More than 30 staff members left in the first year, and 17 last year.
Responding to a Freedom of Information Request made by The Star, the commissioning group said none of the employees has since returned to work for the NHS in Sheffield, but added: “We do not have the information to state whether any other NHS organisation has employed these staff.”
Charlie Carruth, regional organiser for Unison, which represents thousands of health workers in Sheffield, said: “The money would have been better spent on caring for people and clinical needs, as the reorganisation was not required and will undoubtedly lead to higher pay for senior managers and board members of CCGs.”
Mr Atkinson said: “From April 2013 all CCGs have to keep their running costs to less than £25 per head of population.
“Sheffield PCT worked with the other four PCTs in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw to consider future staffing requirements, and to minimise compulsory redundancies by operating a combined voluntary redundancy scheme in 2012/13.
“Less than a third of redundancies from Sheffield PCT were compulsory.
“It is important to stress that all payments for redundancy costs at Sheffield PCT were made out of non-recurrent budgets, meaning there was no impact on the recurrent funding available to the PCT to commission health services for Sheffield patients.”