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.
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
A nurse at South Tyneside’s main hospital has been kicked out of the profession after launching an ‘abhorrent’ anti-Muslim tirade on the internet.
Lisa Marie Kane identified herself as a staff nurse on her Facebook social networking site and embarked on a tirade of abuse against patients after a visit to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
She told her Facebook ‘friends’ – which included colleagues at South Tyneside District Hospital – that there were more Muslims in the RVI “than in Kabul”, accused them of being “brainwashed” and demanding they “get out of my country”.
She also accused Muslims of “chopping off people’s heads” and carrying out rapes.
The comments were made on June 19, 2013, and were reported to hospital bosses.
She was subject to a disciplinary hearing in October 2013 and subsequently dismissed from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.
Now Kane, who worked at the hospital from April 2011 until her dismissal, has been struck off following a conduct hearing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in London.
The investigating panel was provided with screenshots of the comments Kane had made, as well as a transcript of an internal trust investigation and interview with Kane in which she had admitted posting the comments.
During the interview, she admitted making similar comments.
The hearing heard that she was ‘friends’ with other trust staff members on Facebook and had received e-mails from managers regarding how to use Facebook appropriately.
A charge of making inappropriate comments on Facebook was found proven by the panel, as was a second charge that the comments were racially motivated.
The panel concluded that her behaviour had brought the “profession into disrepute” and amounted to serious misconduct.
Robert Barnwell, chairman of the NMC panel, said:
“The panel determined that the act of posting racially offensive comments, borne out of deep seated attitudinal views, was abhorrent.
“The panel finds that Miss Kane’s actions fell seriously short of the conduct and standards expected of a nurse and amounted to serious misconduct.”
“Miss Kane made multiple racially offensive comments on Facebook over a seven-hour period and, during the conversation on Facebook, it was brought to her attention that her comments were inappropriate. But Miss Kane continued.
“Her comments were demonstrative of a deep-seated attitude that was not only uncaring but hostile to a particular group within society, and are fundamentally incompatible with her remaining on the register.
“Balancing all of these factors and after having taken into account all the evidence before it during this case, the panel determined that the appropriate and proportionate sanction is that of a Striking-Off Order.
“Having regard to the matters it identified, in particular the effect of Miss Kane’s actions in bringing the profession into disrepute by adversely affecting the public’s view of how a registered nurse should conduct herself, the panel has concluded that nothing short of this would be sufficient in this case.
“The panel considered that this order was necessary to mark the importance of maintaining public confidence in the profession, and to send to the public and the profession a clear message about the standard of behaviour required of a registered nurse.”
Kane has 28 days to appeal against the decision, with an interim ban imposed in the meantime.
Source – Shields Gazette, 02 Mar 2015
An injured woman with mobility problems was left stranded at a hospital late at night because she did not meet new NHS criteria for transport home.
Lisa Collins, who suffers from a condition that causes her knees to dislocate without warning, had been promised a taxi home from South Tyneside District Hospital when she needed treatment for an eye injury.
But, when she came to be discharged, the 22-year-old, from Westoe, South Shields, was told to make her own way home, despite wearing an eyepatch.
Ms Collins, who has undergone several operations to her legs, said:
“It was 2.30am and they expected me to walk home in the dark by myself, only being able to see out of one eye.”
The customer service advisor had hurt herself earlier in the day when her cat accidentally scratched her in the eye with his claw.
She developed an infection and called the non-emergency 111 number at 9.15pm for advice when the pain became unbearable and her vision started to blur.
She says she was told to go straight to hospital.
“I told them I was going to have to wait until the morning when I could get the bus. She said ‘we’ll sort you out a taxi there and back’.
“I said I don’t need one to get there, I could get the bus, but I would need one to get one back and they said that was OK.”
Ms Collins arrived at the hospital, in Harton Lane, at 9.30pm. Just under two hours later, after being given eye drops and an eye patch, she was discharged with a special cream and a course of antibiotics.
“It was 11.45pm so I had missed my last bus. I went to the front desk and said I was ready to get my taxi.
“That’s when the woman said I didn’t meet the criteria, saying ‘you have to be older than 65’.
“She said ‘you are young enough to get yourself home. It’s your responsibility.”
Ms Collins added:
“I told her I have mobility problems and asked her to check my medical record, but she refused.
“I live on my own. I was very upset and it made the pain in my eye a lot worse. I was crying and I had to take the bandage off, as it was wet.
“I said ‘there is no way I can get home at 1am’. I had no money. I wouldn’t get paid for another week.”
Miss Collins was then told she could have transport, but it would take up to nine hours as her case was classed as ‘non-urgent’
Her father, who lives on the other side of Newcastle, eventually managed to contact a taxi firm willing to pick her up, with him paying the fare the following day, and Miss Collins finally got home shortly before 3am.
She added: “I pay my taxes and feel the NHS has really failed me.”
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Steve Williamson said:
“We are sorry Ms Collins feels that our receptionist was rude.
“Our staff are trained to be professional and courteous at all times. If she would like to contact us, we would be very happy to look into her concerns.”
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said:
“We transported this patient to South Tyneside Hospital and return transport was booked for her by the hospital.
“Due to demand elsewhere, it appears the patient preferred not to wait until transport became available, and made her own way home after the hospital cancelled her transport booking.
“Ambulances are prioritised according to clinical need and the most critically ill people will receive resources first. Unfortunately sometimes this means that some people have to wait longer.
“Where possible, we encourage patients to prepare to make their own way home from hospital so that resources are available for greater emergencies.”
Source – Shields Gazette, 24 Nov 2014