Managers see salary bonanza

WHILE east Suffolk's health system struggles to overcome the burden of more than £24m of debt, senior managers have seen their wages rise by up to 33pc.

WHILE east Suffolk's health system struggles to overcome the burden of more than £24m of debt, senior managers have seen their wages rise by up to 33pc.

Ipswich Hospital has seen the biggest pay hikes with Jennifer Jones, its director of human and corporate resources seeing her salary rise from £60-65,000 in 2002/3 to £75-80,000 in 2003/4.

Clare Barlow, who was director of nursing and operations during 2003/4, also saw her pay increase by the same amount – despite now only being responsible for operations.

These pay rises dwarf the £17,000 to £18,000 a year pay of a newly qualified nurse.

The information comes from comparing the trusts' annual reports from this year with last year where salaries are only given in bands of £5,000 so it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how big the rises are.

The figures from the PCTs appear to be even higher with, for example, Central Suffolk PCT's director of childrens' services, Nikki Clemo, seeing a rise from £25-30,000 to £50-55,000.

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However, because the PCT's were only set up on April 1 2002, staff were phased in throughout the year and may not have received a full year's pay for 2002/03.

Spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital and the three East Suffolk PCTs, Jan Rowsell, said: "All of the salaries which are agreed are in line with comparable trusts within the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority's area and nationally.

"It is an entirely independent process and a great deal of care is taken to make sure there is equity and transparency. All of the directors listed here have absolutely no part in setting the remuneration for themselves."

The independent committee which set the salaries for board members is made up of non-executive directors and the chair of each trust.

"All of these jobs are big jobs and responsible jobs and we want to be able to attract the very best people possible."

Ms Rowsell said that Ms Barlow's salary increased significantly in 2003/4 because she had taken on extra responsibilities. In 2002/3 she was director of nursing, but did not deal with the operations side of things.

Her role has now been reduced again but her salary bracket remains unchanged this financial year.

Ms Rowsell said: "Director of operations is still a huge job with lots of responsibility.

"There is a requirement for all NHS trusts to publish their directors' salary and pension entitlements."

The exact details of how much the three chief executives who were axed from the PCTs are still being paid is also unclear.

Harper Brown, former chief executive of Central Suffolk PCT has now left the NHS completely and no longer receives anything

Ms Rowsell said Ana Selby, still receives a "contribution toward the cost of her new role from the East Suffolk system", even though she is now working for the NHS in West Suffolk.

Lesley Watts, former chief executive of the Ipswich PCT, is still in discussions over her severance pay.

New interim chief executive Carole Taylor-Brown continues to be paid by the Strategic Health Authority but no details are available of her salary since taking on this role.

When she was director of corporate development at the SHA she was receiving £85-90,000.

A spokesman for the Strategic Health Authority said: "There are guidelines which determine the rises people can get and there is a limit to how much you are supposed to spend on management costs.

"If there was anything untoward that would be a job for the auditor."

Dave Powell, lead NHS officer in east Anglia for the GMB Union, which represents people like porters, catering staff and cleaners within the NHS, said: "This is systematic of the problem throughout the health service at the moment.

"They seem to be employing more and more managers on exorbitant wages and less and less front-line staff.

"It's got to stop."

Mr Powell said: "Our members are very unhappy with their lot at the moment and I should imagine when they see some of these figures they are going to be absolutely fuming."

Adrian Axtell, a representative from the union Amicus, said: "Until we know what the exact figures are it is difficult for us to comment but we are concerned and will be asking for more exact figures. We are due to have a meeting with hospital bosses in January and we will be asking for this issue to be added to the agenda."