Shropshire Star

Shropshire hospital trust defends chief executive's £252,000 windfall for day-long retirement

A hospital trust today defended the right of its chief executive to claim a tax-free windfall of £252,000 by 'retiring' for one day - before returning to the same job on his full salary.

Peter Herring

Peter Herring, 61, chief executive of Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospitals Trust, retired from the NHS pension scheme in April 2014, then returned to work one day later.

To claim the money under NHS pension rules Mr Herring, who is paid £185,000 a year, was then required to work part-time for a month before resuming full time duties.

In February the chief executive announced that he would fully retiring from the trust this summer.

Mr Herring's retirement from the pension scheme was not publicised, although the trust said "the decision to accept the chief executive's request to exercise his right to retire and return was highlighted in the 2013/14 Annual Report".

As a result of the move Mr Herring earned a total of £440,000 for the year 2013/14.

Mr Herring received his full salary while on limited hours and Professor Peter Latchford, chairman of trust, said his management of Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital Telford had not been compromised by exercising his "right to retire".

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He also defended the trust's decision not to publicise the move.

He said: "The board had every confidence in the chief executive and the wider board to lead the organisation during the subsequent four-week period, as at any other time when the chief executive or another board director is absent, for example on annual leave or sickness absence.

"An announcement was not made, as our normal management and deputising arrangements applied during this period."

Professor Latchford said the retirement policy applies to all NHS staff and that the trust had been able benefit from his "continued commitment" since the retirement.

Mr Herring has helped continue to lead the trust, which has a forecast deficit of 12.2 million for 2014/15, as it faces change under plans to close one of the A&E departments at either Princess Royal Hospital or Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. It also faces pressure on waiting times at A&E and is attempting to recruit more nurses to ease pressures.

Professor Latchford said: "As a Board we agreed that we needed Peter's continued leadership and support beyond his retirement age. So, in accordance with the requirements of the NHS Pension Scheme he retired from the Trust for 24 hours before returning part-time for a month and then resuming full-time duties. We have benefited from Peter's continued commitment since his retirement from the NHS Pension Scheme, just as we have also benefited from the skills and experience of hundreds of other colleagues continuing after their retirement."

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