nHS Trusts in Yorkshire have paid out to cover private health care for staff, it has emerged.
These benefits were given to employees protected under the rights that workers are allowed to “carry” to new employers when they are the subject of a takeover – the Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment (TUPE) rights.
Under these regulations ensure employment conditions are protected, three of 136 hospital trusts in England which responded to Freedom of Information requests for the Press Association were obliged to meet private health care premiums.
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust paid more than £16,200 last year to cover private health care for three members of staff. And in 2011/12 it paid £18,600.
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust contributed £13,100 last year to the private medical insurance of three employees protected under the scheme.
And Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust had one staff member transferred to its employment subject to the TUPE arrangement. However, the trust declined to divulge how much it paid to continue the arrangement.
In its FOI response, the Hull and East Yorkshire Trust said: “A group of staff receive private health insurance, these staff transferred into the trust from a private company as a consequence of an acquisition.
“They receive the benefit as part of their protection under TUPE regulations.
“As such the trust were legally obligated to continue providing that contractual benefit to those individuals.”
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has also paid thousands of pounds to cover the private medical insurance of some 20 employees.
Over the past three years, the health regulator has spent £10,200 covering private medical insurance for these workers.
Neither the chief executive nor the board members of Nice, the Norfolk and Norwich trust or the Hull and East Yorkshire trust received private medical insurance benefits.
It was yesterday unclear what kind of employees were covered under the TUPE rights at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals.
A Nice spokesperson said: “We provide some dental and optical insurance for 20 staff who brought their terms and conditions with them when they joined NICE under TUPE arrangements when their organisation became part of the institute.”