The finance boss at a central Lancashire hospital trust has had a pay rise of up to £25,000 – which is more than the wage of a newly qualified nurse.
It is one of two high wage increases paid to two top bosses at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust.
We are absolutely appalled and dismayed such rises are warranted under a system where they are in financial chaos.Steve Turner
A month ago hospital chiefs called in health watchdog Monitor to look at its finances – because they said making efficiency savings is unachievable.
Today the hospital trust – which runs the Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital – said the hikes were as a result of a restructure under which the executive director team was reduced in size and duties divided out between finance and nursing directors.
But campaigners said the increases are “appalling”, considering the trust is in “financial chaos”.
The annual report for 2013/14 shows that the director of finance’s salary rose by at least £15,000 and at most £25,000 during 2013/14.
The report provides salary information in bands of £5,000. Paul Havey had been in the £125,000-£130,000 salary bracket and is now in the £145,000-£150,000 bracket.
A newly qualified nurse on a Band 5 salary would earn £21,478. Meanwhile, the director of nursing’s salary was increased by at least £10,000 and at most £20,000. Sue Reed had been in the £105,000-£110,000 bracket and is now in the £120,000 - £125,000 bracket.
Steve Turner, campaign organiser of the the Protect Chorley Hospital from Cuts and Privatisation Campaign, said: “I think it is appalling.
The trust has found itself in financial meltdown and the people at top are having huge increases. Who are these people accountable to when these wages are going up?
“The staff have taken industrial action, they are suffering financially; we have got staff using food banks.
“If they knew what was happening with the finance director and nursing director they would be furious – obviously they are not all in it together.
“We are absolutely appalled and dismayed such rises are warranted under a system where they are in financial chaos.
“Staff are feeling the full force. The one per cent is a pay cut, not a pay rise.
“As a campaign group we find it disturbing.”
Dave Savage, of Preston and South Ribble Trades Union Council, added: “Austerity, we are told, is for everyone – ‘we’re all in it together.’ Yet, this decision to increase already generous managerial salaries way beyond inflation shows that to be a lie.
“It is an insult to those nurses, porters, midwives and carers on the front-line of the NHS in Preston and South Ribble.
“These workers have been lucky to get one per cent increases in recent years and so have suffered a real decline in their living standards.
“Even midwives were moved to threaten strike action, to ensure the Department of Health paid the measly one per cent increase recommended for them by the independent pay review body.
“It is the men and women of the NHS – working long, anti-social hours and dealing with the most vulnerable in our society – that need a decent pay rise.
“This institutional pay disparity is further evidence of the corrosion of public service values in the NHS.
“It is time the people reclaimed their NHS and ensured fair pay for NHS workers, as well as ensuring the highest standards of care for our fellow-citizens.”
The chairman of the hospital trust, Stuart Heys, said the salaries were because of additional responsibilities.
He explained: “The board’s Remuneration and Terms of Service Committee approved salary increases for the finance and nursing directors in 2013, to reflect the additional responsibilities they had assumed as a result of an executive team restructure.
“This restructure reduced the overall size of the team, which funded the increase, and also brought both salaries in line with counterparts in other trusts, following a pay freeze which had been in place for directors for more than four years.
“Unlike other staff groups, executive director salaries are not subject to national pay rises nor are they subject to incremental pay progression.
“Executive director salaries are therefore benchmarked against national comparators on a three-yearly basis to ensure they remain comparable.”
“All other staff groups are remunerated through national terms and conditions and are in receipt of both incremental pay progression and receive national pay awards as announced by the government.
“For example an individual starting on a band five salary (e.g. a newly qualified staff nurse) will commence on a salary of £21,478 and will receive a 20 per cent salary increase over a five-year period in increments alone, taking their salary to £25,783.
This does not include any additional uplifts through national pay awards, which have been around one per cent over the last few years.”