Unions slam ‘disgusting’ pay rises for South Tyneside health bosses

Pay hikes for senior hospital bosses in South Tyneside have been branded “shocking and disgusting” by health union leaders.

Salaries for six executives at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust rose by at least £5,000 in the space of a year – between 2012/13 and last year, a shared cash boost of £50,000.

Trevor Johnston, who is head of health for the North East region for health union Unison, called for hospital bosses to limit their pay rises to the same one per cent increase being received by frontline NHS staff this year.

The trust says management pay increases were introduced because of a large increase in workload when community services in Gateshead and Sunderland became part of its remit.

 Trust chief executive Lorraine Lambert saw her salary increase by 19 per cent – from between £160,000 and £165,000 to £185,000 to £190,000.

Mike Robson, executive director of finance and corporate governance, saw his salary swell from between £115,000 and £120,000 to £120,000 to £125,000

Chief operating officer Helen Ray left her post in March last year but saw her final salary rise from between £105,000 to £110,000 to £115,000.

Fellow senior executives Steve Jamieson and Elaine Criddle enjoyed £5,000 pay boosts over the same period.

Trevor Johnston said:

“It is absolutely shocking and disgusting. These people have their own remuneration committee and award themselves big pay rises when frontline staff get very little.

“What conscience do they have when frontline staff got a one per cent rise for the coming year? Executives should be taking a one per cent rise as well.

“It is the frontline staff that are delivering services to patients.”

Health workers had planned to strike in January after the Government initially rejected a one per cent pay rise proposal by the NHS pay review body for England but the protest was called off to allow fresh negotiations to take place.

Glenn Turp, northern regional director for the Royal College of Nursing, says pay increases for health staff such as nurses and midwives is failing to keep up with those given to hospital management.

Mr Turp said:

“Our research showed that the amount spent on executive directors had increased by an average of six per cent, compared to a 1.6 per cent rise in earnings for nurses, midwives and health visitors.

“Nurses are continuing to feel the effects of austerity and the impact of the Government’s decision not to award them a pay increase for the last five years. Now is the time for more fairness and better pay for all NHS staff.”

Ian Frame, the trusts’s executive director of personnel and development, said:

“In July 2011, our Trust incorporated the community services from Sunderland and Gateshead into our organisation and, in doing so, doubled the size of the workforce, the operational turnover and the complexity of services provided.

“During 2012 we commissioned an external independent remuneration company, to compare the salary scales of managers who have Trust-wide responsibilities, with managers in other Trusts of comparable size and complexity. The outcome was that the existing salary scales were significantly less than our comparators.

“A revised salary scale was approved by the Trust`s Remuneration Committee (comprising Non-Executive Directors only), which accounts for the increases published in the Annual Reports, though the committee opted to phase the increases over a four year period, in order to reduce the immediatel financial impact.

“Executive director annual inflationary salary increases are directly linked to the national NHS pay awards, so they receive exactly the same inflationary increase as all other staff. Had the organisation not doubled in size and complexity, then the published increases would not have happened.

“Irrespective of the increases, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust chief executive and executive directors’ salaries are amongst the lowest in the North East.”

Outgoing Hospital boss Lorraine Lambert enjoyed a £25,000 pay boost in just one year – as “compensation” for withdrawing from an NHS pension scheme.

South Tyneside Hospital Foundation Trust says she had not been given a basic salary increase or bonus payment, but had received a lump sum payment after withdrawing from the NHS pension scheme.

A trust spokeswoman confirmed:

“As stated in our annual report, it was agreed that she should receive a compensatory sum equivalent to the employers’ pension contributions no longer payable due to her withdrawal from the pension scheme.

“We can confirm that this compensatory sum, which is taxable, is the sole reason for the total remuneration shifting into the higher banding and there was no additional cost to the trust.”

Mrs Lambert will retire from her role as chief executive of the trust in September.

Mrs Lambert has spent 20 years at South Tyneside District Hospital, in South Shields, with the last 18 in her current position.

Source – Shields Gazette, 13 Mar 2015

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