Health directors pocket £400,000 in three years

SENIOR health bosses have pocketed more than £400,000 in payouts over the past three years.

The latest Locala accounts show that £134,000 was paid to departing directors in 2018 – on the back of £163,000 the previous year and £125,000 in 2016 – to compensate for “loss of office”.

Batley-based Locala is a not-for-profit organisation which runs community nursing in Kirklees.

The total amount paid out in the last three years is £422,000.

Former chief executive Robert Flack was one of the most notable officials to leave in 2017, while three other directors – James Barwick, Tina Quinn and Mark Saunders – all left in the same year.

Mr Flack said that he had quit “to pursue new career opportunities” so it’s not known whether he received any of the £163,000 that year, while Mr Barwick denied getting any of it.

The latest accounts show that two more directors,  Natalie McMillan and Sharon Lowrie, left in 2018.

Locala said that its ‘re-aligning’ of the boardroom led to loss of office payments but Mrs Lowrie said she didn’t receive a payout.

Mrs McMillan left on August 31 and had stepped in as interim chief executive for six months when Mr Flack quit.

Mrs Lowrie was the director of finance and performance and has since moved on to be a managing director of Be Caring, a company similar to Locala.

Trade union Unison’s Yorkshire health spokeswoman Natalie Ratcliffe said: “It’s really sad and disappointing to hear about these six-figure sums.

“From administrators to clinicians they all work really hard, yet when they are restructured or have to leave there are no six-figure sums for them.

“In fact, quite the opposite. Instead directors and chief execs get 26 per cent pay rises and then they scrap small benefits for staff, such as £40 vouchers.

“It is demoralising for our members to know this goes on.”

Locala chairwoman Diane McKerracher, who was appointed in 2017 after Mr Flack’s departure, said: “Locala works to ensure that public funds are spent responsibly, with the primary aim of ensuring high quality patient care for our communities.

“As part of this work, in 2017/18 we continued to re-align our board structure and profiles to ensure this matched the needs of the organisation.

“Whilst we cannot comment on the specific situation of individuals, we can confirm this led to the payment for loss of office that appears in the accounts published in December for the year ending March 31, 2018.

“These actions, taken around 18 months ago, were business decisions with the intention of ensuring an effective future for Locala.

“This work has now been completed and as a result we are in a different place as an organisation in 2019, with a new, committed and effective board driving forward service planning and improvements.

“Locala returned a small surplus on 2017/18 which is being invested in the care of patients as we progress with our three-year strategy.”

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