The NHS chief executive has promised MPs to do all he can to provide details of severance payouts made by foundation trusts.

On Tuesday the public accounts committee asked Sir David Nicholson to find out the number and value of all special severance payments made by foundations over the past three years.

Conservative MP Stephen Barclay said he had been unable to obtain the information, despite “numerous parliamentary questions” and requests to the Department of Health, the Treasury, and foundation trust regulator Monitor.

Fellow Conservative MP Kevin Bacon told Sir David that if the NHS chief executive could not provide the information an alternative would be to call the accounting officers of every foundation trust in England to give evidence to the committee.

He added: “We’ll have them in one by one.”

The special payments provide employees with pay-offs above their contractual entitlements. They can be tied to agreements protecting the organisation from “subsequent legal claims” from the employee or negative publicity, according to NHS Employers guidance.

Sir David told the committee: “I will do everything in my power to [get the information].”

He agreed to write to the committee within a week to confirm if it was in his power to obtain it.

Foundation Trust Network director Sue Slipman told HSJ: “FTs are independent organisations, and they don’t have the same chain of accountability that they had when they were under the secretary of state.

“They are fully accountable through a new accountability chain to their council of governors and the regulators.”