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Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 00:26 GMT
Pay hike for top NHS bosses
There is a high turnover of chief executives
Over a quarter of NHS trust chief executives earned six-figure salaries in the last financial year, figures show.

The number was up sharply from the previous year. On average chief executive pay rose by 5.3%, compared with a rise of just 3.3% for doctors.

The figures, compiled by Income Data Services, suggest that pay rates have been influenced by the massive reorganisation that has taken place in the NHS, with many trusts merging.

The question is whether the pay scales reflect the true responsibility or complexity for the job

Stuart Marples
Despite the jump in salaries, turnover among chief executives was running at high levels, with nearly one-in-five leaving or being replaced during the year.

Stuart Marples, chief executive of the Institute of Healthcare Management said that turnover among chief executives was as high as in any other group of NHS workers.

He said: "Over the last year chief executives' responsibilities have increased considerably with mergers and reorganisations and this has been reflected in their salaries.

"Given the high profile of the job and its vulnerability, compared to chief executives in other multi-million pound organisations with much lower public profiles, the question is whether the pay scales reflect the true responsibility or complexity for the job."

Wide variations

The survey found that there was a huge diversity in pay rises for chief executives.

Some got nothing, while others saw their pay soar by 35%.

When the value of bonuses and benefits is taken into account, the average increase in total remuneration was slightly lower at 5.2%.

Again there were enormous variations in the total remuneration movements for individual chief executives, with some seeing their earnings drop while others received rises of 30% plus.

Other findings are that:

  • Basic salaries for chief executives were concentrated in the range 74,000 to 95,750, with a median salary of 84,500
  • The highest salaries were normally found in general acute or multiple activity hospital units and the lowest in ambulance trusts
  • When the value of bonuses and benefits is included, total remuneration levels were concentrated in the range 78,000 to 100,000, with a median value of 89,000
  • Trusts in the London area were the highest payers, with median total remuneration of 100,000
  • Chief executives of trusts in the West Midlands received the lowest median remuneration, at 81,000
  • Less than a fifth of chief executives received a bonus. The average value was 6,000
A Department of Health spokesman said: "The government issues guidelines to the NHS on this but, in line with our commitment to decentralisation, a Trust must make its own decisions.

"But (these pay rises) ought to be seen in the context of other NHS staff - for example some of the most senior nurses will have a maximum increase of between 6.6% and 6.9%."

The survey analyses data on chief executives' salaries, benefits and bonuses contained in more than 380 trust annual reports with financial years ending on 31 March 2001.

The results cover about 90 per cent of all the NHS trusts in the UK.

IDS said that the amount of earnings information disclosed by trust annual reports lags far behind the standards of disclosure common in the private sector.

Few trusts do more than meet the minimum statutory requirements for information on salaries and remuneration.

See also:

17 Dec 01 | Health
Pay hike for NHS workers
21 Aug 01 | Business
Chief executive pay rockets
30 Jul 01 | Business
UK bosses best paid in Europe
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