We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

MP calls for urgent action on NHS gagging clauses

February 27, 2013 9:47 AM

Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHCumbrian MP Tim Farron has asked the government to act on evidence unearthed by the Health Service Journal into gagging clauses in the NHS.

Over 500 'compromise agreements' were signed across 20 hospital trusts and 24 primary care trusts between March 2009 and March 2012. The Health Service Journal estimate that 80% of trusts have 'at least one compromise agreement' and that 98% of those agreements contained a confidentiality clause.

Ninety of the agreements were with clinicians and the average payout per agreement was £29,000.

NHS organisations can also sign 'mutually agreed resignation payments'. According to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee over 200 requests were made to the Treasury to make special or mutually agreed resignation payments between April 2011 and the end of 2012. The range of these payouts is between £190,000 and £250,000.

Tim has called for an end to NHS confidentiality deals such as those used at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).

UHMBT and its former chief executive, Tony Halsall, signed a confidentiality deal when Mr Halsall stepped down in February 2012.

The deal prevents the disclosure of details of his departure, including whether he worked his six-month notice period and whether he was paid for it. The trust's interim chairman, Sir David Henshaw, told the North West Evening Mail that such agreements are common in both the public and private sectors and are "part of the legal structure of this country".

Tim has written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, and asked him to write to every NHS trust in the country and instruct them to not use these deals.

Tim said: "This evidence shows the widespread nature of these gagging clauses, which is frankly awful and shocking.

"I think it's important that the public knows these things, and then the public can make a judgement as to whether what the trust did was right and whether what the NHS as a whole did was right."