‘It’s a relief’: Boss pays up after seven months

Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital
Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital
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The owner of the Royal Bucks Hospital, Aylesbury, has started to pay staff thousands of pounds after selling the building.

Dr James Clarke has refused to speak publicly since the hospital announced it was winding down in August with staff thought to be owed a total of £350,000.

But the owner of the Grade II listed building finally spoke to The Bucks Herald prior to the sale to new rehabilitation centre owners, Affinity Care.

He said: “Everybody, but everybody, will be given their dues as soon as the money hits the bank.

“This is the time I have been waiting for and thank God it has come. With all the heartache that everybody has suffered, it’s a relief.”

Unison Bucks Health branch secretary Steve Bell said he was pleased to see the seven-month saga finally drawing to a conclusion.

He said: “If it hadn’t been for the union or the campaign we believe that many of the workforce would not have received.

“Unison would like to thank publicly all those that have supported this group of workers and hope for their support again as unfortunately we do not believe that this will be the last company to try to get away with paying what is owed.”

The sale and payment to staff brings an end to a period which has seen protests, potential tribunals and the lobbying of MPs.

A sore point has been Dr Clarke’s refusal to apologise to staff who have been forced to rely on food bank donations.

Former senior healthcare assistant Rosalyn John added that some staff would be interested in positions at the new centre but only if Dr Clarke is not involved.

Dr Clarke only spoke via the press for the first time when The Bucks Herald published an open letter from Vale MP John Bercow demanding he explain himself.

The International Eating Disorders Centre also run by the doctor closed earlier this year after receiving three formal warnings from the Care Quality Commission.