Exclusive: Hospitals in cash crisis give board big pay rises

Karen JacksonKaren Jackson
Karen Jackson
BOSSES running three hospitals in the region were handed double digit salary increases as their NHS trust plunged into crisis.

The Yorkshire Post can reveal six executives at the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust saw huge pay increases in 2013-14 –the same year their organisation was put into special measures amid concerns over higher-than-expected death rates.

Regulators lifted the failure regime last month, but the trust is now grappling with a worsening financial crisis amid predictions it could be more than £11m in the red by the end of March – double the level expected.

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Figures show chief executive Karen Jackson was paid £180-£185,000 in 2013-14 – up nine per cent on the year before but a 28 per cent increase over two years. Chief operating officer Angie Smithson, who has since left the trust, saw a 29 per cent rise last year to £130,000-£135,000 after taking on the role of deputy chief executive, while director of clinical quality Wendy Booth’s pay went up by 19 per cent after she took up an expanded role in 2012.

Chief nurse Karen Dunderdale’s salary rose 17 per cent to £100-£105,000, director of organisational development Neil Pease, who took on additional duties in January, received a pay rise of 16 per cent to £105-£110,000, and director of finance Mike Rocke’s pay rose by 13 per cent to £115-£120,000.

Total remuneration for the trust board remained broadly the same. Half of nearly 7,000 staff were paid £23,000 or less in 2013-14.

The rises will put renewed pressure on executives at the trust, which runs hospitals in Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole, a year after a furore erupted when details of pay rises in 2012-13 emerged weeks after details of poor care at the trust were exposed by inspectors.

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Coun Jean Bromby, the chairwoman of North Lincolnshire Council’s health scrutiny panel, said: “It is extremely concerning to see salaries have been increased again and by as much, given that the trust has just come out of special measures.”

Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy claimed the top team had done a good job, but it was “simply indefensible” to have such large pay increases “when the mass of NHS staff are receiving one per cent maximum”.

Officials have blamed the worsening financial position on increasing staff spending as it invests in improvements in clinical care. Spending on locum doctors between April and June was 66 per cent higher than two years previously at £4.5m. Managers warn the position will worsen unless there is a reconfiguration of services which they say are neither clinically or financially sustainable in the long term.

The chairman of the trust’s remuneration committee, Alan Bell, said pay levels had to reflect the executive team’s responsibilities as well as the market rate and there had been “significant” improvements in the trust’s performance.