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NHS England and NHS Improvement made six-figure exit payments to five directors as the two organisations merged, accounts show.

They spent £30.8m on compulsory redundancies during the two years of the restructure, in which nearly all senior NHSE and NHSI teams were combined, including their top-level leadership.

Annual accounts show the bodies paid a combined £8.7m for compulsory redundancies in 2018-19 (covering 130 redundancies) and £22m (for 359) in 2019-20. Departures resulting from the effective merger spanned both financial years.

In the previous financial year, 2017-18, the total for compulsory redundancies appears to be just £1.4m.

Several top directors at the organisations, who were also long-serving NHS staff, left as part of the merger. Find out who they were in our full story.

Tough gig

Heading up the long-troubled Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust is at present among the toughest jobs in NHS management.

The latest appointee, as we reported yesterday, is on an interim basis, after the trust’s efforts to make a substantive hire were dashed when the preferred candidate was forced to withdraw their application after an inquiry about his qualifications.

Adam Morris, previously chief executive at Livewell Southwest, a community interest company providing integrated NHS mental and community health and care services in Devon, has stepped into the breach.

The trust had previously appointed Mason Fitzgerald, who was due to take the job from April, only for him to withdraw his application at the last minute.

While the trust was upgraded from “inadequate” to “requires improvement” in January 2020, it remains in special measures with much to do to get it out.