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NHS Staff (Redundancy and Re-employment)

Volume 578: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2014

3. How many staff have been made redundant and subsequently re-employed by NHS organisations since May 2010. (903420)

10. How many staff have been made redundant and subsequently re-employed by NHS organisations since May 2010. (903427)

Since May 2010 and up to December 2013, 4,050 staff across the whole NHS have been re-employed in the NHS following redundancy. This covers all staff grades, not just managers, and is a tiny proportion of the total NHS work force of currently around 1.2 million.

May I thank the Minister for that utterly complacent answer? Is it not outrageous that, while front-line health service staff are having their salaries frozen, the fat cats at the top are getting monstrous pay-outs and then being re-employed straight away elsewhere in the NHS?

The Opposition will have to do better than these prepared questions. We have been lumbered with their redundancy terms, which were negotiated when the right hon. Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham) was a Minister in the Department of Health.

On NHS pay, we believe in having enough front-line staff to care for patients. That is the lesson of Mid Staffs. What the previous Government would have done—and the Opposition would have us do—is give some staff in the NHS two pay rises, not just one. That is unacceptable. We need to have enough staff to ensure that we can look after patients. All staff in the NHS will receive a pay rise of at least 1%, but unfortunately, because of the terms that the previous Government set, some managers are still treated better than patients. We will change that.

Some time ago, the Prime Minister promised to stop the revolving door in the NHS and recover payments from those staff who had got huge payments and come back, sometimes to the same job. How is that going? How many people and how much money?

I think this is an own goal from the Opposition. They set the redundancy terms in 2006, when the shadow Secretary of State was a Minister in the Department, which have allowed extraordinary, eye-watering redundancy payments to be made, particularly to managers. That is to the disadvantage of front-line staff and patients. It is why we are currently in negotiations with the unions to ensure that we improve redundancy terms, stop those eye-watering payments and have more money to care for front-line patients.

21. Talking of eye-watering payments, may I refer to the six-figure pay-off of £300,000 reportedly paid to Jo-Anne Wass, one of the 10 highest earners in the NHS? Despite the fact that she is leaving this month, the NHS is said to be paying for a two-year secondment for her, even though she will not return. How many 1% pay rises for nurses could be found out of that £300,000? (903441)

These are questions that the Opposition should have thought about—the hon. Lady was a Minister in the previous Government—when they negotiated the redundancy terms. They are Labour’s redundancy terms, which we are changing. When we look at the figures, under the previous Government’s NHS reorganisation in 2006 to 2008, we see that the NHS spent more than £360 million on redundancy and early retirement alone, which compares with only half that—£178 million from 2011 to 2013—under the current Government. How much more money would have been available for staff pay had the previous Government got that right?