NHS boss sails into stormy waters over boat

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NHS workers have accused senior staff of exercising a “two-tier system”, after top brass received bumper bonuses while frontline employees fight for their jobs.

And a health boss whose staff are facing drastic changes to their pay and conditions has also come under fire for “showing complete disharmony” with colleagues after posting details of his new boat on the internet.

Shaun Clee, chief executive of 2gether NHS Foundation Trust in Gloucester, took to Twitter to inform his “followers” of the purchase, made during a recent trip to St Austell in Cornwall.

He wrote: “Round trip to St Austell. Sea trial resulted in new boat – oops!”

Prompted by one of his followers to explain whether that meant he had bought a new boat, the health boss replied: “I am afraid I have to plead guilty.”

He added that the purchase – thought to have cost between £10,000 and £15,000 – was not “as elegant” as a sailing boat, describing it as “a fast day boat for inshore or river fishing”.

His spending comes as the Gloucester health body is among nearly two dozen trusts in the South West to have joined a so-called “pay cartel” to try to cut the pay and conditions of each trust’s staff, by breaking away from the national agreement covering NHS staff.

Workers could be made redundant and forced to sign new terms of employment if they fail to agree to the proposals.

Helen Hancox, regional officer for the Royal College of Nursing South West, said Mr Clee was allowed to spend his income as he wished, but described his decision to post details of the purchase on Twitter as “unpalatable”.

She added: “He’s obviously got the disposable income to go off and buy a boat, yet many staff – who have not had a pay rise in two years – are struggling to pay their rent.

“I think it was ill-advised and disrespectful. It almost seems like he is gloating about the boat, and shows complete disharmony with the majority of staff who are fighting cuts to pay and conditions.”

In a statement, the trust described the timing of its chief executive’s comments as “regrettable”.

NHS workers have also accused three directors from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, including the chief executive, of hypocrisy after they took home bumper pay deals despite the trust having to make multimillion-pound budget cuts.