A former strategic health authority chief received a pay-off of nearly £1m when he took early retirement from his now defunct employer.

David Johnson was awarded a package worth£899,810 when he left North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lancashire SHA.

He left when it was merged with West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire SHAs last summer to form NHS Yorkshire and the Humber.

The payment to Mr Johnson makes up almost a fifth of the£5.2m paid in redundancy and early retirement by the SHA in 2006-07. In total, 71 staff got payments, which averaged£24,725 for redundancy and£48,191 for early retirement.

A spokesperson for NHS Yorkshire and the Humber said the SHA was set a target of reducing management costs by£6.8m by 2007-08.

'The targets have been met and the one-off costs will be recouped through recurrent savings. By the end of the next financial year, the savings to local taxpayers will exceed these costs.'