NHS HR chief Clare Chapman received a pay rise of between 14% and 20% last year, according to figures released by the Conservative Party.
Chapman’s pay jumped from about £205,000 in 2006-07 to at least £240,000 in 2007-08, according to Tory analysis of official Department of Health data.
The Conservatives said that the Department of Health’s spending on the salaries of its board members increased by between 29% and 38% in 2007-08 to a maximum of more than £3.5m.
Meanwhile, nurses had to make do with a 1.9% pay award last year as the government stuck to its 2% limit on public sector pay rises.
A statement from the Department of Health insisted senior civil servants received a 2-3.5% basic pay increase in 2007-08 on the recommendation of the independent Review Body on Senior Salaries.
However, it added: “The individuals concerned also received performance-related bonuses under rules set out by the Cabinet Office.”