Hospital chief’s pay-off ‘cost 500k’

NHS bosses in Lincolnshire are accused of spending more than £500,000 on gagging a former trust chief executive amid fears that patient safety were compromised to meet targets.

Gary Walker was sacked as chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, in February 2010.

He dropped a claim for unfair dismissal before going to a tribunal and reports this weekend suggest he was given £320,000 and given a ‘super-gagging’ order to stop him talking about the deal.

Supporters say that, with legal costs, the bill tops £500,000.

ULHT refuses to be drawn on the cost and says an ‘amicable resolution’ was reached.

Sleaford MP Stephen Phillips has written to health minister Andrew Lansley to raise concerns regarding documents he has seen relating to Mr Walker’s aborted tribunal.

Mr Phillips wrote that the documents raised ‘at least the suspicion’ that there was a similar scandal to that at Stafford Hospital – where patients died due to mismanagement.

A ULHT spokesman said: “The top priority for the trust is patient safety, and this is reflected in the current performance of the organisation. In 2011/12, the trust reported four cases of MRSA, a reduction of 88 per cent over the last three years and a 65 per cent reduction in C Difficile.

“The trust’s mortality rate is the lowest it has been in recent years and the Trust works with the Primary Care Trust on a monthly basis to ensure the rate continues to reduce.”

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