Karen Jackson, chief executive of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, accepted an inflation-busting pay rise of more than 20 per cent last year, taking her salary from £140,000 to £170,000 – comfortably more than the £142,500 paid to Prime Minister David Cameron.
She is also one of seven senior managers awarded additional perks worth more than £7,000 last year, which relate solely to the use of lease cars.
The trust, which runs hospitals in Goole, Grimsby and Scunthorpe, has to save £15m by 2015 and was placed in “special measures” last month after a litany of failings were uncovered in a Government-ordered review carried out by NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.
These included a male patient being “inappropriately exposed” in front of mixed-sex patients, patients being moved from A&E to avoid breaching triage targets, and patients being given “inappropriate” food.
The trust defended her rise, saying it would be a “false economy” to pay below the market rate.
However a member of the foundation trust, who did not want to be named, branded the rise “diabolical” and said it “could have helped pay for a consultant”.
Andrew Allison, national grassroots co-ordinator of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the revelation “adds insult to injury” following the findings of the Keogh review.
“Mrs Jackson has been rewarded handsomely for failure – there is no other way to describe it,” he said.
“Despite her assurances that patient safety and quality of care is always her top priority, it appears pocketing massive pay rises has been at the top of her list.
“I can’t see how local residents can have any confidence in her,” he added.
Brigg and Goole Conservative MP Andrew Percy, a member of the Health Select Committee, said: “I understand the trust has contractual obligations but I don’t know the specific details of the contract with Karen Jackson.
“My general rule is that the trust needs to take on board the findings of the Keogh Review and the comments it made about (staff) shortages and the inability to recruit doctors.
“Most of my constituents would expect that if there is money to spend then that is spent on nurses and clinical staff.”
Scunthorpe Labour MP Nic Dakin said: “What’s important to local people is that the local hospital trust responds positively to the Keogh review. This is what everyone needs to remain focused on.”
Trust chairman James Whittingham said: “It is important that we pay salaries which are commensurate with the job to attract and retain high calibre people.
“Karen Jackson’s starting salary in 2010 was set below the agreed rate as it was her first chief executive post, and she declined a pay rise after her first year in the role.
“She is now receiving a salary that is roughly in line with the average for trusts of this size and type.”
He added: “The remuneration committee always strives to keep a balance between competitive pay and the need for financial restraint in what are challenging times and I fully believe we have achieved that. It would be a grave mistake and false economy to pay so far below the market rate that executives leave their posts or are impossible to recruit.”
Mrs Jackson sits on the remuneration committee, but members are not allowed to be present when their own salaries are being discussed, the trust said.
LEASE CAR BENEFITS FOR TOP EXECUTIVES
Bosses at the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have enjoyed generous perks.
Over the last three financial years, nine received “benefits in kind” worth more than £20,000 for lease cars.
The biggest beneficiaries were chief executive Karen Jackson and Angie Smithson, director of operations, who each received £4,300.
The biggest annual car award was the £2,200 given to Ms Smithson last year.
Neil Pease, director of human resources and organisational development, joined the trust on October 1, 2011, and received car benefits of £1,200 for those six months.