The salaries of senior NHS managers have “accelerated away” from those paid to staff, with the average hospital nursing director now earning nearly £100,000, according to latest figures.
While female nurses are paid 64.7 per cent and male nurses 62.2 per cent more than in 2007, foundation trust chief executives’ pay has risen by 115.2 per cent.
The Incomes Data Services pay report 2010, which contains the figures, says they demonstrate how trust director earnings “continue to run ahead of the rest of the workforce”.
But nursing directors are still relatively low paid compared to many of their boardroom colleagues.
For example, those at acute and specialist trusts earn an average annual £97,500 in 2008-09, compared with chief executives’ £158,450, finance directors’ £117,500 and the £180,000 paid to medical directors, who are the highest earners.
However, most nursing directors earned more than directors in charge of human resources, operations, performance and informatics, service development and strategy.
Hospital nursing directors in the east midlands had the highest salaries of any region, getting an average of £106,300. Those in the south west were the lowest paid, on £89,880.
Mental health trust nursing directors were paid slightly less than those at acutes, earning an average of £92,500, while those at primary care trusts got £85,000.
According to the report, only one nursing director received a bonus, which was worth £13,000, while dozens of others received benefits worth just over £3,000 on top of basic pay.
UNISON senior national officer Mike Jackson said: “Running a hospital is a tough and very responsible job, and without competitive pay rates, hospitals will not be able to attract the right calibre of staff.
“But it is not right for senior staff to get above inflation pay hikes, while the rest of the workforce get a below inflation pay deal.”