Health bosses at a North East health trust have been awarded huge pay rises despite frontline nurses struggling to get an across the board 1% increase.
Senior members of staff at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services in the region, have seen their wages hike by up to 9.5% in the last two years.
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust is currently undergoing significant change with its Transforming Services Programme which could see as many as 169 posts reduced under radical plans to change the way that care is delivered to vulnerable patients.
Former chief executive of the trust Gillian Fairfield, who left her post at the end of March this year, saw her salary rise the most from £182,700 in 2012/13 to £200,000 in 2013/14, a boost of £17,300.
Meanwhile, Lisa Quinn, executive director of performance and assurance, and Elizabeth Latham, former director of workforce and organisational development, had pay rises of 5.5%, with both their wages jumping from £100,000 to £105,500.
Nurses’ leaders and MPs have reacted with anger as the wage boosts come at a time when not all frontline NHS staff are being given a 1% rise. While some nurses and health care assistants will still get their incremental pay increase, which rewards experience and skills learnt after a length of service, many will not be entitled to the rise.
The Government has insisted it cannot afford a general pay increase without putting frontline jobs at risk.
Glenn Turp, Royal College of Nursing Northern Regional Director said: “We are very concerned to learn that Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust awarded such a significant pay rise to Gillian Fairfield. When it comes to pay, it seems we are seeing one rule for NHS chief executives, and another for frontline nursing staff.
“Less than half of nursing staff at the top of their pay increment will get a paltry 1% pay rise this year, following three years of pay restraint. The rest will simply get what they are contractually entitled to, if they can demonstrate they have developed their skills in the previous year.
“And we know that, once inflation is factored in, NHS salaries have in fact been cut between 8% and 12% in real terms, between the period 2010 and 2014. A band three health care assistant working on the frontline earns £16,200 a year; less than this chief executive was awarded as a pay rise in one year. It’s disgraceful and demoralising for frontline workers.”
Health chiefs have insisted that since Northumberland, Tyne and Wear became a foundation trust in December 2009, executive directors had more responsibility and this was reflected in their salaries.
Chairman of the trust, Hugh Morgan Williams, said: “When a NHS trust gains foundation trust status it acquires a significant amount of managerial and financial freedom and a degree of independence from the Department of Health.
“Individual executive directors of the organisation therefore gain more responsibility, which you would expect to be reflected in their remuneration, amongst other things, due to the complexities of responsibilities directors have to undertake.
“Northumberland, Tyne and Wear became a foundation trust on December 1, 2009, and it had been agreed to commission an external review on authorisation as a foundation trust. This review was deferred on several occasions and took place during 2013/14. There was a commitment to back date any increases to the date of achieving Foundation Trust status and this commitment has now been honoured.”
Newcastle East MP Nick Brown said pay restraint in the NHS should be the same for everyone. He added: “If exceptions are to be allowed, we should start with those who are the least well-paid. There is no excuse for breaching the public sector pay policy just for those who are already amongst the highest paid.”
Dr Fairfield now works at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and was unavailable for comment.
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s executive directors pay
Gillian Fairfield, former chief executive
Salary 2012/13: £182,700
Salary 2013/14: £200,000
% change: 9.5
James Duncan, executive director of finance and deputy chief executive
Salary 2012/13: £125,000
Salary 2013/14: £126,250
% change: 1%
Gary O’Hare, executive director of nursing and operations
Salary 2012/13: £107,124
Salary 2013/14: £109,800
% change: 2.5
Elizabeth Latham, former director of workforce and organisational development
Salary 2012/13: £100,000
Salary 2013/14: £105,500
% change: 5.5
Lisa Quinn, executive director of performance and assurance
Salary 2012/13: £100,000
Salary 2013/14: £105,500
% change: 5.5
Lisa Crichton-Jones, acting director of workforce and organisational development
Salary 2012/13: n/a
Salary 2013/14: £105,500
% change: n/a
Source – Newcastle Journal, 17 July 2014
Scores of beds are set to be cut in a major overhaul of mental health services in the North East.
Radical changes will see the merger of two psychiatric intensive care units, a reduction of in-patient beds and the axing of 22 frontline nursing posts.
Fears have been raised over how the changes could affect some of the most vulnerable patients in the region.
But health officials at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust insisted their Transforming Services Programme will improve quality of care for patients, while delivering efficient cost savings.
Patients and staff in the South of Tyne area are being affected by the proposals, and the trust says it has future plans to look at the way services are delivered North of Tyne.
Under the trust’s plans, two psychiatric intensive care units will merge into one. The services at Greentrees Ward at St Nicholas Hospital in Newcastle and the Dene at Cherry Knowle Hospital in Sunderland both have 14 beds.
It is proposed to merge those wards into a single 14-bed facility at a new hospital at Hopewood Park, Sunderland, which is due to open later this year.
Meanwhile, a overhaul of in-patient care will see more services delivered in the community, resulting in the reduction of about 90 beds across the trust’s South Tyneside, Gateshead and Sunderland sites.
Staff are currently going through a consultation process as it is proposed to reduce the number of nursing posts, across all staff banding levels, from 64 to 42.
Last night, union officials and MPs raised concerns that the move will hit those in need of mental health care.
Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said: “Mental health services should be protected. We are in the situation where mental health issues are getting more awareness and it’s not good to hear that services are being affected in the region.
“It is ludicrous if these changes are being made to save money, and patients will understandably be concerned at what the proposals mean for them. Mental health services are very much needed.”
Greg Canning, Royal College of Nursing Officer said: “This is one of a large number of areas where the trust is currently consulting on reducing the number of posts.
“To cut the number of nursing posts in psychiatric intensive care from 64 to 42 is a huge reduction, and we want to see evidence that this will mean that the service remains viable.
“Patient and staff safety must come first. I’m meeting with Gary O’Hare, the director of nursing at the trust, and I will be raising the matter with him as a matter of urgency.”
It is expected that the changes will come into force within the next two to three years.
A spokesman for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said: “For some time now we have been working with staff, service users, carers and partner organisations to look at ways in which we can redesign our service around the needs of the people we look after. This has included a formal public consultation in South Tyneside which has now come to a close.
“We are currently consulting with our staff on a number of changes to the way we provide services both inside and outside hospitals.
“The aim of these changes is to ensure that we look after people in the right environment for them, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions. We are also working closely with our trade unions to ensure that no one loses their job through this process.”
As many as one in four people suffer from mental health problems at some point in their lives.
Earlier this year, deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched the Government’s mental health action plan, setting out priorities for change in mental health care and support.
He said patients will have a choice of where to be treated and a right to minimum waiting times.
Source – Newcastle Journal 11 April 2014