NHS boss to get �14K more than predecessor

SUFFOLK: Health campaigners today blasted the decision to pay the new boss of NHS Suffolk at least �14,000 more than his predecessor.

Dr Paul Watson has been chosen to take over from Carole Taylor-Brown next month as interim chief executive until the primary care trust is abolished in 2013.

As Dr Watson is taking on the job on a secondment basis from his role as director of commissioning at the Strategic Health Authority (SHA), his salary will remain the same – between �150,000 and �155,000 compared to Mrs Taylor-Brown’s salary, which is �136,523 – despite the fact that he will not be returning to his SHA job as the organisation is also being disbanded.

Key health figures in the county have hit out at the decision, claiming it is not fair on the thousands of low-paid NHS employees having to cope with salary freezes.

Prue Rush, a health campaigner, said: “He (Dr Watson) should be paid for the job he does.

“If Carole Taylor-Brown was valued at that level, he should be valued at the same. He will be overseeing the end of the primary care trust – it is not like he is taking it forward.

“It always seems to be the case that the well paid people dictate what they want. It seems very hard when they are talking about cuts in the health service and he can come in and do a job for nearly �20,000 more than is it is currently valued.

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“There are a lot of people in the PCT having to take pay cuts with no hope of future employment. It seems to be an unequal playing field.”

Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, added: “This is a very disappointing appointment. He does not seem to understand everyone has to make their contribution to dealing with this financial mess.

“To insist on a salary that is up to 13 per cent higher than the previous chief executive is a smack in the face for those many thousands of NHS employees who are earning less than a quarter of his salary and have had a salary freeze this year and next.

“I will be writing to the secretary of state for health immediately, demanding he look very closely both at this appointment and the sum of money which the new chief executive is being paid.”

An NHS East of England spokesman said: “Dr Watson’s salary is determined by national terms and conditions for doctors.

“He will remain on this salary while at NHS Suffolk.”

The government’s radical health reforms include scrapping PCTs and SHAs and instead giving GPs in consortia the task of controlling the �70billion health budget.

Dr Watson officially takes over the role on October 1.

n What do you think of this salary? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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