Revealed: The ex-Sheffield health chief who earns £40k more than the PM

TEN directors of public health from Yorkshire were among more than 300 officials being paid more than £100,000 a year, new research reveals.

Sheffields former Director of Public Health, Dr Jeremy Wight
Sheffields former Director of Public Health, Dr Jeremy Wight

According to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Sheffield’s former director of public health Jeremy Wight, was the highest paid local authority director of public health in the region and fifth best paid in the country.

His total remuneration for 2014-2015 of £178,035, was £40,000 more than the Prime Minister.

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Doncaster’s former director of public health Dr Tony Baxter received a package totalling £158,062 (19th in the list), while Leeds’s current DPH Dr Ian Cameron was on £153,875 (23rd).

The list was topped by the directors of public health in Cornwall and Oxfordshire who were on over £200,000.

The research also revealed 199 people working for Public Health England - whose aim is “to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities” - were on salaries and allowances of over £99,999.

There were also 16 regional NHS public health employees with salaries and bonuses of over £99,999.

The pressure group said the salaries were “enormous” and instead of “constantly capitulating to the High Priests of the Nanny State by introducing more rules and higher taxes, politicians should instead encourage education, physical activity in schools and more personal responsibility.”

Its chief executive Jonathan Isaby said: “Not only do the patronising diktats and demands of these unaccountable quangos raise household bills, but taxpayers are also paying for the enormous remuneration packages of hundreds of meddling busybodies.”

Some of the salaries have been dramatically cut - Dr Wight’s successor at Sheffield is on £105,494.

Dr Rupert Suckling who took over as Doncaster’s director of public health after Dr Tony Baxter retired last year receives total remuneration of £115,907, including additional payments and employer’s pension contribution.

Sheffield City Council’s director of Human Resources Julie Toner said: “When public health responsibilities came into the council, staff were transferred on protected salaries and funded for the first five years by a public health grant from the Government. This was cut last year. When the council was in the position to recruit a Director of Public Health we took the opportunity to address the salary and that of the current DPH is significantly lower than his predecessor.

“We have also saved a further £1m elsewhere from senior staff pay in the last few years.”

Leeds City Council said: “If the Taxpayers’ Alliance had read the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Strategy they would see the things they say we should be doing to improve public health – education, physical activity in schools and more personal responsibility - are all included as part of what we are doing in Leeds.

“It’s also worth pointing out the work of public health officials often focuses on preventing the development of future illnesses, easing future pressure on the NHS and saving the taxpayer money in the long run.”

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, said costs to the taxpayer had been cut by £100m since 2013. He added: “Public health professionals are on the frontline of protecting and improving the nation’s health – from fighting diseases such as Ebola to tackling preventable disease which costs the NHS over £11bn each year, including diabetes and obesity.”