Healthcare workers have expressed dismay at a £410,000 payoff to a top NHS executive - handed out as doctors consider strike action of a potential pay cut.
David Flory, who stood down earlier this year as chief executive of the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA), received the severance payment in addition to his £235,000 a year salary, according to the organisation’s annual accounts.
The TDA is tasked with turning NHS trusts – the organisations that manage hospitals and other NHS services – into foundation trusts, which are supposed to have greater financial stability and independence. However, 43 out of 99 NHS trusts ended the financial year in deficit – contributing to an £800m deficit across the NHS provider sector.
Hospitals are now under great pressure from government to cut spending in order to avoid an even deeper deficit this year. Pay increases for most NHS staff are set to be limited to just one per cent a year for four years. Meanwhile junior doctors have threatened strike action over a new contract offer that could see many facing a cut to their salary.
Barrie Brown, national officer for health at the Unite union, labelled Mr Flory’s payoff a “disgraceful reward for mediocre performance”.
“This is particularly insensitive given the current dispute that the government has with junior doctors over their pay and conditions which, if it is not resolved fairly, will see hundreds of talented young doctors going abroad to work,” he said.
New legislation due to be put before MPs within weeks aims to cap public sector pay outs at £95,000.
A DH spokesperson said Mr Flory’s payment reflected “over 20 years at board level where his dedication and exceptional service were invaluable to the NHS.”
“However, we understand public concern about executive pay, which is we're clamping down on senior NHS managers' salaries and capping redundancy pay,” the spokesperson said.
Doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA) is due to hold direct talks with the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, this week over controversial new contract proposals. Hundreds of junior doctors marched in Whitehall on Monday night in opposition to the plans after a meeting with NHS Employers, the arms-length body responsible for negotiating the contract, was cancelled at short notice.
Chair of the BMA’s junior doctor committee Dr Johann Malawana, said industrial action was still on, unless the Government could give “absolute assurances” it would meet doctors’ demands around pay and safe working hours.
“Our members and all junior doctors feel angry and let down by how they have been treated and have had enough of being treated in such an inappropriate way,” he said.
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