Welsh NHS £2.1m redundancy bill for up to 25 people criticised

Campaigners fighting cuts to NHS services in north Wales have criticised the payments

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Nearly £1m has been paid out to six employees of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) in redundancy packages since 2010.

Freedom of information requests by the Welsh Conservatives also showed £1.3m was paid by three other health boards.

The NHS in Wales has spent £2.1m since 2010 making up to 25 people redundant.

The amount was called "eye-watering" by the Welsh Conservatives. The Welsh government said it expected payments to be "the best use of public funds".

The FoI requests showed in total BCUHB made six people redundant from 2010-2013 at a total cost of £935,862.

  • In 2010/11 - three people from administration and clerical were made redundant at cost of £796025
  • In 2011/12 - 0 people made redundant
  • In 2012/13 - three people (one from administration and clerical and two additional clinical staff) were made redundant at cost of £139,837

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There are patients languishing on waiting lists yet the NHS seems to be able to afford hundreds of thousands of pounds for senior managers who are having their employment contracts coming to an end”

End Quote Darren Millar Shadow Health Minister

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board did not provide figures for 2010-11, but spent £785,140 on nine redundancies from 2011-12 to 2013-14.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMUHB) said it had paid out £211,000 over the last three years in redundancy payments for fewer than 10 staff.

A further £220,000 was spent on capitalised costs where individuals opt to receive their pension rather than a redundancy lump sum.

While there were no redundancies in Cwm Taf University Health Board, Hywel Dda University Health Board, and Powys Teaching Health Board over the last three years, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board paid £9,212 in redundancy to one member of staff in 2012.

Conservative Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar said: "Patients will rightly question why such eye-watering amounts are being paid to what many people regard as NHS fat cats.

"At the end of the day there are patients languishing on waiting lists yet the NHS seems to be able to afford hundreds of thousands of pounds for senior managers who are having their employment contracts coming to an end.

"We need Welsh Labour ministers to give some assurances to patients across Wales that these amounts can be justified and that they are representative of value for money for Welsh taxpayers."

'Strict guidelines'

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Redundancies are made in exceptional circumstances, such as restructuring of the health board”

End Quote Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "Ultimately these matters are for NHS organisations as employers to deal with.

"We would expect them to seek appropriate advice and expertise to support their remuneration committee and board in making decisions.

"Where payments are being considered they must represent the best use of public funds."

A BCUHB spokesperson said: "Redundancies are made in exceptional circumstances, such as restructuring of the health board.

"Although we cannot comment on personal details, we make every effort to redeploy individuals into suitable roles and follow strict guidelines to support affected staff."

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: "The health board is continually reviewing its structures and our work to ensure that they are fit for purpose and as efficient and as cost effective as they can be.

"This can, on occasion, result in posts being no longer required and while every attempt is made to find alternative work for those affected in line with statutory responsibilities, it is not always possible.

"When this happens the health board is bound by nationally agreed terms and conditions and redundancy pay entitlements. As part of this process robust business cases are prepared and considered which weigh up the cost of any redundancy payment against the salary cost saved over time."

A spokesperson for ABMUHB said: "These redundancies were in connection with NHS reorganisation and internal restructuring, which involved the streamlining of posts for greater efficiencies.

"We have already recouped the cost of the redundancy pay-outs in half of the posts involved, and are now in the position of making real savings as a result of no longer paying those former salary costs. The costs of the other redundancies will be fully recouped by this summer, enabling us to make further savings."

Maximum payout

The NHS redundancy process is set down in terms and conditions that apply across the UK.

Staff who are made redundant should receive one month's pay per year of service, with a maximum of 24 months' pay.

Richard Tompkins, director of NHS Wales Employers, said: "NHS Wales seeks to prevent compulsory redundancies, which could potentially occur as a result of organisational change.

"An organisational change policy across NHS Wales aims to ensure that the NHS retains the valuable knowledge, skills and experience of its workforce.

"This policy sets out steps which health boards and trusts must follow to help displaced staff find suitable alternative roles and/or opportunities for retraining within the NHS.

"If, following the application of the processes outlined in the organisational change policy, compulsory redundancies are unavoidable then staff are entitled to receive a redundancy payment."

Mr Tompkins said such payments are calculated on the basis of the UK NHS terms and conditions, which includes a section on redundancy pay, and apply to NHS Wales.

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