The must read stories and talking points from Thursday

DH ‘exit packages’ jump

The Department of Health and its executive agencies spent £39m on “exit packages” last year, following the departure of more than 700 staff.

The bulk of the leavers in 2016-17 related to a major restructuring and cost cutting programme at the DH.

In a parliamentary answer published this week, health minister Philip Dunne said “voluntary exits” of DH staff accounted for £31m of the expenditure.

The DH accounts said another £1.4m was spend on compulsory redundancies, which suggests the remaining £6.6m was spent on voluntary redundancies at its executive agency bodies, Public Health England and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Spending on exit packages was £5m in 2015-16, £14m in 2014-15 and £6.4m in 2013-14.

HSJ revealed the DH’s restructuring plans in January, which followed a redrawing of the NHS funding ringfence in the 2015 spending review to exclude the department and other central bodies. More than 500 staff took voluntary redundancy.

Weeks later it emerged that around 200 new staff would be recruited to ensure the “right skill mix” within the department, which was partly in response to the challenges posed by the Brexit negotiations.

CCG new broom

A clinical commissioning group rated inadequate has appointed an interim chief officer following the departure of its experienced leader.

Nick Robinson took up the role with Somerset CCG three weeks ago, replacing David Slack who left shortly after the CCG received the lowest rating from NHS England.

Mr Slack, a long serving NHS manager in Somerset, had led the CCG since it was formed in 2013.

Mr Robinson, who has been appointed on a 12 month basis, has recently worked as interim leader of Bedfordshire and Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCGs.

Among his immediate priorities will be the turnaround of the CCG’s finances. The £750m-budget CCG recorded a deficit, of £3m, for the first time in 2016-17, and is forecasting a £17.2m deficit this year.