NHS bosses have benefited from a near 7% pay rise in a year, more than twice the rate for nurses, a study has shown.
The research, based on data from more than 380 NHS trusts, found that chief executives earned £150,000 on average, and have enjoyed a 6.7% increase in pay. Nurses received a 2.75% pay rise in 2008-9.
There are wide variations in pay, the study by Income Data Services showed, with 19 earning more than £200,000, and 25 health trust chief executives earning more than the prime minister’s salary of £192,400, the Daily Mail has reported.
Ron Kerr, chief executive at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in central London, is on a salary of £270,000.
The news came as the Conservative election manifesto, to be unveiled today, is expected to promise to extend GP working hours and give them responsibility for out-of-hours care.
Janet Davies, director of service delivery at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “It is difficult to expect nurses and other staff to be happy with their pay award when staff in their boardroom are getting three times as much. At a time when the NHS is expected to make significant savings, pay must be seen to be fair.”
Nigel Edwards, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, which represents trusts, said many hospitals increased pay to attract top talent.
He said: ‘NHS organisations are large and complex and the skills required to lead them are considerable and scarce. A large city hospital could have a budget of £500m to £1bn and employ 10,000 staff – comparable to many FTSE 250 companies.”
A Guy’s and St Thomas’ spokesman said: “The pay of our chief executive, Ron Kerr, reflects the experience, expertise and responsibility that the role demands, and we are delighted to have a chief executive of his calibre.”
A Department of Health statement said: “NHS and foundation trusts are independent organisations and set their senior pay in the light of the recommendations of their independent remuneration committees – there are no central targets. All pay arrangements over £150,000 a year must now be publicly justified.”