Hospital trusts have been criticised for thinking they have a "bottomless pit" of money after offering six-figure "golden goodbyes" to executives in the region.
One NHS body paid out around £250,000 in redundancy to just one departing top brass as bosses running the region's biggest hospitals made payouts totalling almost £2 million in 2012-13.
The trust running Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E) paid out just over £900,000 through "exit" packages to 18 staff, including payments to two people of above £100,000 and another of between £150,000 and £250,000.
On top of that they gave Elaine Hobson, formerly chief operating officer, around £250,000 as they streamlined the management team.
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Derriford, the biggest hospital in the Westcountry, awarded packages to 16 staff totalling £580,000, with one redundant worker getting a six-figure sum. The previous year it paid out more than £3 million in "exits".
Torbay hospital's South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust notched up 29 exit packages, totalling just over £201,000, and Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs North Devon hospital, recorded two exits costing almost £19,000.
The figures are revealed in the trusts' annual financial reports for 2012-13, which have been published over the summer. Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust will publish its report in September following its annual general meeting.
The payouts were criticised at a time when accident and emergency ward waiting times have spiralled across the country.
Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, said the settlements at Exeter hospital suggested the NHS had not witnessed the same austerity as the private sector.
He said: "I would much prefer money was spent on struggling A&E, rather than generous pay-offs. The NHS is not a bottomless pit.
"The private sector has had to tighten its belt, so the NHS should have to do the same. Many companies are not paying much more than statutory pay-offs, so it is hard to justify 'golden goodbyes' at this level."
Eleanor McGrath, campaign manager of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "Taxpayers will be alarmed that so much of their money was paid out in golden goodbyes last year.
"Redundancies ought to mean a reduction in the wage bill, but huge pay-offs can mean that any savings made are undermined. This is something which taxpayers and the NHS cannot afford.
"Trusts must rethink overly generous contracts that allow such massive pay-outs so that taxpayers' cash can be spent on frontline patient care rather than these eye-watering golden goodbyes."
The RD&E report explained Ms Hobson's post "became redundant" following a senior management review and was agreed by the Treasury and the NHS watchdog, Monitor. The chief operating officer's salary was around £130,000.
The report said: "Elaine stepped down from the role at the end of September 2012 after working at the trust since 1985 and with a career in the NHS stretching back some 37 years.
"The board acknowledged Elaine's significant contribution in a number of roles during this time and thanked her for her hard work, determination and resilience."
Most of the settlements have come through the NHS mutually agreed resignation scheme – or Mars – which amounts to voluntary redundancy and means staff can apply for a one-off lump sum.
Amid the Government attempting to make billions of pounds of NHS "efficiency" savings, ministers hoped the scheme would avoid compulsory redundancies, which are more expensive. But ten compulsory redundancies at the Plymouth trust cost just short of £300,000 in total.
A spokesman for the RD&E said it had reduced its number of executive directors from five to four and that this was calculated to "result in long- term savings", adding: "We would expect to recuperate any costs within a two-year period."
Hein Scheffer, director of human resources and organisational development at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We are constantly reviewing our management structure to work more efficiently and where we can identify cost savings within a 24-month period we work in line with national terms and conditions to make the appropriate level of payment."