Almost £700,000 has been paid out to medics suspended on full pay in the past three years, it can today be revealed.
The huge sum was paid out by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for providing health care across the county, following the suspension of 64 members of staff.
No further action was taken against 12 of them, but disciplinary proceedings were launched against 49 clinical staff members and three non-clinical workers.
It was also revealed one member of staff was paid £12,820 while suspended from February 4, 2014, until October 10, 2015 – a total of 20 months.
The total figure paid out from April 2013 to March 2016 was £697,430, the trust said in a response to a request made under freedom of information laws.
In a statement, the trust said it follows a disciplinary process in all cases, with a ‘fact-finding exercise’ carried out to determine whether a full investigation is needed.
It said: “Employees are only suspended in exceptional circumstances during the investigation process and this is reviewed regularly by the trust.
“Once the investigation has concluded, this will determine whether or not a disciplinary hearing is required.”
Some 27 workers were suspended in 2013/14 and were paid a total of £291,793.
The following year, 12 were suspended and paid a total of £149,165, and last year, 25 were suspended and paid a total of £238,430.
The trust, which was set up in April 2002 and provides health care for around 1.5 million people, employees around 7,000 members of staff across 400 sites.
It would not say what job roles those suspended were working in ‘as this would highlight individual identifiable information’.
However, services provided by the trust include mental health, community nursing and health visiting, physiotherapy, podiatry, speech and language therapy, and smoking cessation and health lifestyle services.