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NHS boss re-appointed after retiring on £1.4m pension pot

Dr Alan McKinney has been re-appointed to a senior role in the Western Health Trust following his retirement 
Seanín Graham

A FORMER medical director of a health trust who retired with a £1.4m pension pot was re-appointed to a senior role in the same organisation just months later.

Dr Alan McKinney, who held the £200k post at the Western health trust for two years following a lengthy career as an A&E consultant in Derry, is understood to have returned as an 'associate medical director'.

Officials have refused to comment on his new role, salary or the recruitment process.

A new medical director has also been appointed to replace Dr McKinney.

The development comes almost a decade after the Irish News revealed how several NHS managers had been appointed to new jobs despite receiving massive 'golden handshake' early retirement or redundancy packages.

The story led to a government intervention and clampdown on the practice.

In a hard-hitting statement released last night, the Department of Health re-iterated that it "does not sanction a revolving door policy".

"Staff who have left the service should have no expectation that they will be re-employed in a permanent or other capacity anywhere in the Health and Social Care service."

A spokeswoman added: "There will be no re-employment within the HSC until the individual's payback period (1.75 years) is completed. It is however permissible for re-employment after that time."

Asked if this policy applied to staff who retire in the normal way, or only those benefiting from early retirement or redundancy packages, the department failed to respond.

It added that while it was made aware of the appointment of Dr McKinney, its approval was not required as it related to a post with clinical responsibilities and "approval... rests with the trust".

Dr McKinney officially retired in July, receiving a combined pension and lump sum of £281,000. He had the third-highest pension pot in the entire health service for 2014/15.

It is understood he took up his new role within two months of retirement.

When asked by The Irish News if the Western trust's chief executive, Elaine Way, sanctioned the appointment, what the job entails and who was awarded the post, the organisation refused to answer any questions.

It said: "The trust does not comment on individual employment matters."

Janice Smyth, head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in the north, described the development as "fairly unusual" in its experience.

"The College is not aware of the circumstances of this case... but we support good practice principles regarding equality of opportunity in terms of employment and openness and transparency."

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