EDP: Cash-strapped Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust spends £307,500 on one redundancy

This is an incredible story of hubris and incompetence which has placed the safety of mental health services at risk due to the subsequent recruitment crisis as well as wasting millions of pounds.

However, it is vital that people who depend on mental health services do not pay the price of the NHS bureaucracy’s repeated mistakes. Those who failed to properly fund, manage, regulate and supervise Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) must find the money to put matters right. That’s £30 million, Norman ‘mental health champion’ Lamb.

Norfolk and Suffolk’s mental health provider, which is being investigated for running up a £2m deficit, paid £8.8 million in exit and redundancy payments last year – more than anyone else in the country.

It meant almost a tenth of all staff severance payments paid out by NHS foundation trusts came from the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) in 2013/14. Across the country £92.4m was paid, according to analysis by the Health Service Journal (HSJ).

The year before, severance payments cost the NSFT £8.2m.

The huge redundancy bill included £307,500 paid to one director. Daren Clark, director of operations for specialised services in Suffolk, received the highest payment of anyone made redundant by a foundation trust in the country last year. His redundancy package included pension contributions.

It was one of three redundancy payments made by the trust of more than £200,000.

Terry Skyrme, from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “It is just a phenomenal amount. I think it is a national scandal, the amount management is paid in salaries and redundancy payments.”

Read the Tom Bristow’s full story on the EDP website by clicking on the image below:

EDP Cash-strapped Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust spends £307,500 on one redundancy

8 thoughts on “EDP: Cash-strapped Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust spends £307,500 on one redundancy”

  1. The real scandal is that this had been going on for years and staff have been speaking up for years and it has all been filtered out..  in the Eastern countries they call it karma!!

    The radical service redesign was doomed from the outset when it was handed to senior clinicians to lead on.. or maybe it was all a set up to throw the staff off the scent. Be ware the mastermind behind all this now works in the DoH!!

  2. Unbelieveable. Voluntary Redundancies were handed out like gifts. “Cheaper” staff were turned down in favour of equivalently banded but longer serving and more expensive to pay off staff – there was no right of appeal for staff not “successful”. Older staff intending to retire anyway were advised to stay on, and claim 2 years salary in redundancy pay, then apply for their full pensions.

    Redundancies were being agreed (or gifted) even as teams were advertising for replacements due to vacancies.
    Foundation trusts appear to have the freedom to waste and abuse money without accountability.

    There have been many temporary/agency/consultancy roles that the gentleman featured in the EDP could perhaps have fulfilled, saving on the high salaries paid out .

  3. This was simple, cynical management by spreadsheet. Time served band 5 and band 6 are expensive compared with staff on lower spine points. The radical redesign was a transparent ploy to prune more expensive staff out and replace them with fresh staff who cost less. The worst aspect is that senior management spout political flim flam about how this was good for the trust but instead they tore the heart out many teams, shattered morale and reduced the effectiveness of these teams.

    They seem to think that the rank and file staff can’t see this reasoning behind their action but they are very wrong.

    I trust that monitor will forensically track down those responsible for this debacle and make sure that they are held accountable.

  4. Isn’t it incredible that the Board still can’t say sorry or explain what went wrong to staff, patients, carers and the public? There are about 150 foundation trusts yet little old NSFT on its own spent ten per cent of the entire national total of redundancy payments. We were told that NSFT was no different in its cuts but these statistics show what a lie that was. £17 million is a scandalous amount of money to waste on redundancies in a trust spending £2 million every month on temporary staff. The payments may have been ‘contractual’ but they were also moronic. Scott’s recent email didn’t say sorry or explain what went gone wrong. NSFT needs something akin to the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa if it is to heal and recover. There was an enormous failue of corporate and clinical governance.  What were the clincial leads doing? Why did the non-execs, governors, CCGs, Monitor, NHS England, Norman Lamb, scrutiny committees and local MPs do nothing to stop the car crash? They were all certainly warned. What has changed in the culture and capability of the trust? And are the CCGs and Norman Lamb going to reverse the enormous cuts which led to the disastrous radical redesign in the first place? Staff and patients cannot be made to carry the can.

  5. Old Cockler writes

    Out here on the coast, where nothing much happens, we heard that when the redundancy program was first mooted the staff side was strongly opposed and advised the Board to take legal advice. They allegedly ignored this.

    When it came to the final signing off, we also heard that one Board member refused to put their name to it as they considered it to be a waste of public money and totally unnecessary. Allegedly. We’d love to know if this is true and if so, who it was.

    We then heard that despite many promptings, the Trust Board declined to take legal advice up to the point when they decided to recall many of the redundancy notices and offer the staff their jobs back, and it was only then that they sought to find out what the Law had to say on the matter. Answer: too late, and you are stuffed (allegedly).

    Do Monitor know about this? I think they should be told.

  6. The biggest tragedy is the loss of skilled, experienced staff and the destruction of morale caused by the pernicious process of forcing staff to compete with each other for reduced posts. We had the pretence of a “fair” interview process, the nerve of offering staff coaching in how to interview, the anxiety of an uncertain future – all this wasted energy while patients suffered from lack of care and treatment. To see confident, competent staff members reduced to nervous wrecks….unbelievable.

  7. Quite so.. speaking as an outsider looking in it was utterly heartbreaking to see highly skilled and inspirational staff who were exemplars of their craft reduced to dysfunction and despair. All this sacrifice to feed an insatiable neoliberal paradigm. If you want to see why this is happening from a macroscopic scale watch ‘The four horsemen’ documentary on Youtube.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top