Page last updated at 07:59 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 08:59 UK

15m payoffs defended by minister

Doctor generic
The money was paid out in health service redundancies

Payouts totalling 15m to senior managers in the health service have been defended by the health minister.

They are being paid to over 100 senior managers who took voluntary redundancy or voluntary early retirement when 18 trusts became five last spring.

Michael McGimpsey said anyone who loses their job is entitled to a redundancy payment.

However, SDLP assembly member Alistair McDonnell said the payouts represented "golden handshakes".

"For me it reflects poor personnel management, poor human resource management and a need for us to look forward when we're employing people and if necessary employ people on short to medium term contracts.

"I think that we should now in the public services be employing people on five to seven year contracts rather than contracts for life," he said.

However, Mr McGimpsey said it would free up money for frontline services.

"What we're looking to do is reduce the burden within the health service - the administrative burden - to release money for frontline and this is one of a number of exercises that I have undertaken," he said.

"The only way we can maintain a health service as Nye Bevan envisaged it - cradle to the grave healthcare free for all citizens - is to invest and we also have to be efficient and that's what I'm about."

The figures were contained in a written answer to Dr McDonnell.

In all, 127 managers lost their jobs. The average pay-out each is to receive will be just under 120,000.

Most of it will come in enhanced pension payments.





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