Top pay in the NHS in England – the facts

Mon 20 Apr 2015

MiP chief executive Jon Restell debunks the myths in today’s Daily Mail

Speaking in response to today’s article in the Daily Mail about so-called NHS fat cats, MiP chief executive Jon Restell said:

'The Daily Mail campaign fails to highlight the main problem with NHS boardroom pay – the 20% vacancy rate in important jobs on hospital boards and the widespread use of expensive interim managers to plug gaps. High turnover rates have inflated salaries as trusts bid against each other for a dwindling pool of executives, and interim management fees artificially inflate the average rise.

'In reality, most directors have not changed jobs and have not seen a pay raise for years – the median increase for a chief executive last year was 0% and the use of bonuses is minuscule. Most boards are simply too frightened to give any pay rises to their directors. This is the wrong thing for patient care, because NHS services need greater stability in boardrooms.

'We need to appoint and fairly reward more permanent managers. Interim management has its place in any industry, but patients and clinical staff need top bosses who are overwhelmingly permanent staff. Permanent staff are also much cheaper. The average salary for an NHS manager is around £48,000, and for senior managers around £78,000. The highest paid permanent chief executive in the UK earns £277,000 – yes, this is a lot, but nowhere near the sums cited in today’s article.

'Some of the Mail’s case studies are unfair and ill-informed. One is someone who received a pay rise on promotion. Would the Mail give someone a pay rise if they were promoted from the newsroom to edit the paper? Another seems to count someone's pension transferred from a previous job as part of their annual pay increase. The public deserves a more intelligent debate than this.'

MiP and HSJ have produced the HSJ-MiP management mythbuster  to challenge these and other lazy stereotypes about NHS managers.’

Join MiP

As specialists in healthcare management we provide expert employment advice and representation and fast access to legal services to make sure you are treated fairly. You also receive our quarterly magazine and have access to leadership networks.

Reasons to JOIN MiP >

FDA Portfolio

MiP members get all the benefits provided by our sister unions. FDA has launched a portfolio of benefits offering a range of discounts, legal support and financial advice. Click through from the MiP members' area for details.

Employment rights

We provide a range of advice and information for healthcare managers on issues that affect your employment. We produce factsheets and briefings to keep you informed about your rights and opportunities.

Find out more >