Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust is set to spend an estimated £2.3m on severance and redundancy payoffs directly related to a regional reconfiguration of pathology services.
The trust’s 2012-13 annual report said its participation in the reconfiguration “involved restructuring its current service, whilst at the same time partnering with other local hospitals”.
“There are employee related transformation costs of £2,322,000,” it added.
Pathology services across the East of England region are being reconfigured under a controversial programme launched by the strategic projects team of the now defunct NHS Midlands and East strategic health authority cluster. The team is now part of a commissioning support unit.
Trusts were forced to form consortiums and then divide themselves into “hub” laboratories, which undertake most work, and “spokes” handling only urgent work.
When the arrangements go live, slated for next year, Norfolk and Norwich will serve as the hub laboratory in the Eastern Pathology Alliance, with James Paget University Hospitals and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn foundation trusts as the spokes.
Pathology staff from the other trusts were transferred to Norfolk and Norwich earlier this year, after which the trust begun its redundancy programme.
Pathologists and unions have consistently raised concerns about the costs and potential service implications of the reconfiguration.
Meanwhile, Monitor last month raised Norfolk and Norwich’s governance risk rating from “amber-green” to “amber-red” due to breaches of clostridium difficile and waiting time targets.
The regulator also raised the foundation trust’s financial risk rating from 4 to 3 in August.
A trust statement said this was in line with its financial planning and there “has been “no deterioration in our financial position”.