Nurses have hit out after it was revealed that directors of NHS trusts in England received average pay rises last year of 6.4% - well above the 2% target for the public sector set by the Government.
Pay analyst IDS found that chief executives of NHS foundation trusts fared better than their non-foundation counterparts, with average salaries increasing to £158,000 and £132,000 respectively.
The average salary increase for executives in foundation trusts was 7.6%, whereas in non-foundation trusts it was 5.7%.
Nurses received a 2.75% this financial year as part of a three-year pay deal worth nearly 8%, although they will receive extra pay increases if they progress along Agenda for Change bands.
Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said: ‘News that executive pay has increased by so much so quickly sends the wrong message to frontline staff. It is the collective hard work of all NHS staff that ensures high quality healthcare services are delivered on a daily basis, so the pay that staff take home must be seen to be fair. You simply can’t expect nurses to be happy with their pay award when the the staff in their boardroom are getting three times as much..
IDS spokesman Steve Tatton said: ‘Heading up an NHS trust is now a high-pressure role and concerns over recruiting and retaining executives are driving these above-average pay increases.
‘A number of trusts have cited the need to retain key staff when offering an explanation for awarding them higher than average pay rises.
‘The earnings of NHS trust directors are continuing to move ahead at a faster pace than the rest of the economy.’
He added that it was understandable the remuneration of NHS directors and other top executives working in the public sector would come under scrutiny, ‘particularly when unease about the widening gap between senior executives and the rest of the workforce is growing in both the public and private sector’.