The £600,000 NHS goodbye

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The man responsible for the health of every person in the city has pocketed a £600,000 pay-off after leaving his job, it has been claimed.

Director of Public Health Nicholas Hicks allegedly “negotiated his own departure” from his £240,000 a year position at the NHS a few weeks ago.

The goodbye package, according to Citizen sources, was two and a half times his annual salary.

Ironically, Mr Hick’s exit caused a sigh of relief at Milton Keynes Council offices a few miles away.

For new legislation means the public health post became the sole responsibilty of the local authority from April 1.

It is understood council officers had baulked at paying a salary almost £100,000 higher than that of their own chief executive David Hill.

They feared it would lead to a series of equal pay demands from other council directors.

“It’s not an affordable amount for a council. NHS pay scales for directors and executives are just crazy money compared to the hands-on nursing staff,” said one source.

Mr Hicks was also chief executive of the city’s Primary Care Trust, which, under the same new April 1 legislation, is now an NHS clinical commissioning Group.

It is not known whether he has found a new job elsewhere.

Meanwhile Milton Keynes Council has found a temporary but thrifty solution to its problem of employing a new Director of Public Health.

It is “sharing” one director, Muriel Scott, with two other local authorities, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council.

A spokesman for the Department of Health, speaking on behalf of the now defunct Milton Keynes PCT, said: “NHS redundancy arrangements have been agreed with NHS trade unions.

“Staff who are made redundant are entitled to a payment of one month’s salary for every year of reckonable service up to a maximum of 24 months’ pay.

“NHS redundancy payments are, therefore, calculated on length of service and salary at the time of redundancy.”

The spokesman was unable to confirm or deny the sum given to Mr Hicks.