NHS Sefton wage error staff to repay cash

Hundreds of Merseyside health workers must pay back about £160,000 in wages because of a payroll error.

NHS Sefton staff, including nurses and healthcare assistants, were told about the mistake in letters this month.

They are being given three years to repay the cash, varying in amounts between £20 and £4,500, after overtime payments were miscalculated.

The trust said it sympathised with the staff affected but added it was legally obliged to pursue the money.

Statutory duties

The blunder was uncovered during an audit carried out by the trust's new payroll provider earlier this year.

The error has hit about 350 staff who received working time directive payments, usually made for working outside of normal hours.

Marie Rice, deputy chief executive of NHS Sefton, said: "We have spoken to all those staff affected by this and we are working closely with their regional union representatives to find a solution that will have the least impact upon them.

"As a publicly accountable body we are legally required to reclaim the over-payments to meet our statutory financial duties.

"The problem was discovered by our new payroll provider when it took over the contract with us earlier this year.

Monthly repayments

"We immediately took steps to determine the cause and we have changed our procedures to ensure that this cannot happen again.

"We know this is little consolation for those affected and we sympathise with any distress this may be causing them."

Staff are being asked to make monthly repayments for up to 36 months, depending on the amount they need to repay.

The trust, which employs 1,500 people in north Liverpool, said it would look at individual cases where necessary.

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