Anne (not her real name) lost her job following some unrest among her trust's senior consultants.

'I hadn't fallen out with the consultants, but because there was some unrest at the time it was a difficult situation to handle. The chairman thought there might need to be a sacrificial lamb and it wasn't going to be him, 'she says.

She was in the middle of a three-year rolling contract, but the process of leaving and negotiating a settlement was smooth.

'I had an unusual clause in my contract, agreed in the run-up to a general election. The chairman put into my contract - and it was agreed by the regional health authority chairman and board - that I could only be dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct, otherwise the time remaining on my contract would be paid in full.

'The directors didn't want me to leave, but when they realised I had no choice they wanted to make sure I would get as much benefit as possible. The only negotiations were over what the final amount should be.'

After tax and legal fees were paid, she received around£150,000 and once she left the trust she worked for a time, for free, with another NHS organisation.She is not bitter about her dismissal, mainly because of the support she received from senior colleagues.

'The board didn't agree with the chairman. They were extremely understanding and I am grateful for the way they dealt with the situation, 'she adds.