Playing politics with headlines about executive pay just adds to the problem

Wed 03 Jun 2015

MiP chief executive Jon Restell responds to the Secretary of State's letter on executive pay

Commenting on the Secretary of State’s letter yesterday, MiP chief executive Jon Restell said:

‘The government is failing to address the urgent and growing problem of permanent vacancies in critical board jobs, running at 20%. Why able people are unwilling to take on these jobs should be the focus of its energy, not playing politics with headlines about executive pay and adding to the problem.

‘Stable, well-motivated leadership is critical for safe, effective patient care. Yesterday’s letter, particularly its tone, does nothing to encourage hospital bosses. It fails to respect them for the work they do or give any hope that the secretary of state understands or has any interest in the vacancy crisis on NHS boards. We understand the letter from Monitor is even more negative.

‘We urge Jeremy Hunt – in the direct interests of patient care - to broaden the scope of his consultation. Action is needed on the whole employment package for directors, including regulatory and performance pressures, equitable treatment, respect and well-being and resources to do the job, as well as pay. MiP has argued for this broader strategy for some time, and all parties should take this opportunity to deliver it.  

‘We’re considering some of the detail in the letter, although it begs many questions. The letter may not take into account contracts of employment of existing staff and we will challenge unilateral variation if it is proposed. We give a cautious welcome to the idea of a national framework for pay but everything hinges on whether the process for pay determination is objective enough. Our members will not be interested in merely pumping up another political football.’

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