Bury St Edmunds: West Suffolk Hospital pursuing staff overpayments

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. - Credit: PA

Staff at a Suffolk hospital have been overpaid by more than £110,000 over the last three years, new figures have revealed.

In all, 173 workers have been handed inflated wages at West Suffolk Hospital between 2010 and 2013.

Trust bosses last night said they would pursue every penny that has been overpaid, either recovering cash through the payroll or through debt collection.

Although the number of people overpaid in 2012 to 2013 fell to 54 from 77, the total overpayment leapt from £38,774 to £48,178.

Between 2010 and 2011 there were 42 overpayments, worth £23,501.

It is not known how much of the £110,453 has been recovered by West Suffolk Hospital, although it is likely that some of the more recent overpayments will still be outstanding.

The figures were released by the hospital following a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

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A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital said: “Overpayments can happen for a number of reasons, including when errors are made on claim forms, if staff leave suddenly or when the tax office changes an employee’s tax code.”

He added: “We pursue all overpayments and will either recover the money through our existing payroll or, if the member of staff concerned has left the trust, through our usual debt collection arrangements.”

The hospital is preparing to invest in a new clinical decision unit due to a significant increase in the number of admissions to its accident and emergency department.

Earlier this year it was revealed that, in some cases, patients had waited up to 16 hours in A&E before being discharged or moved to another department, with a vast number of additional patients coming into the unit compared to last year.

The proposed single-storey CDU, if given the green light, will be built in an internal courtyard at the Hardwick Lane site in Bury St Edmunds accessed by the emergency department.