NHS chiefs have agreed to pick up the £150,000 salary of a senior official for up to two years after she leaves to take up a secondment at a Yorkshire university - even though she will not return to the health service.
Jo-Anne Wass, national director for human resources and organisational development at NHS England, based at Quarry House in Leeds, is quitting next month for a post as organisational development consultant at Leeds University.
A NHS England spokesman said it had agreed to pay her salary, believed to be around £155,000, for up to two years while she is on secondment.
“There are real benefits to encouraging the links between local education and the healthcare sector,” said the spokesman.
“This is particularly true in Leeds where the NHS and the university are two of the city’s largest employers and it is crucial they have a strong relationship.”
The spokesman added: “Jo-Anne thinks it is right that NHS England has certainty in planning for the future. As a result Jo-Anne has made it clear that she has no intention of returning to her role.”
In her new post, she will report to vice chancellor Sir Alan Langlands, himself a former NHS chief executive.
Leeds University said she would help develop links to secure “economic, social, academic and healthcare benefits” from working with a wide range of NHS bodies in the Leeds City region.
“Jo will play a key role in shaping a model of co-operation between the university and these NHS bodies, developing the underpinning policies and practices we need to ensure a more coherent approach for the future.”