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Thursday 01 June 2017

MiP calls for scrapping of managers’ salary cap

By MiP

Jon Restell
Jon Restell: current approach to executive pay “smacks of political messaging”. Photo: Stefano Cagnon

MiP has called for the policy of capping senior NHS pay at the level of the prime minister’s salary to be scrapped after Treasury documents revealed more than 90% of requests to exceed the cap have been approved.

Under rules laid down in 2015, all trusts and CCGs wanting to pay senior staff more than Theresa May’s £142,500 salary must seek prior approval from the Treasury. But information obtained by the Health Service Journal under the Freedom of information Act showed that 54 out of 59 requests to exceed the cap had been approved in 2016-17.

“The figures for salaries above £142,500 strongly suggest that the policy of using the Prime Minister’s salary as a benchmark has run its course,” said MiP chief executive Jon Restell. “The burning priority must be recruiting and retaining board level people, especially in the most challenged providers.”

“While we need a consistent and open senior pay framework, the NHS needs to be quicker to make offers, and it must bite the bullet and pay competitive salaries,” he added. “The current approach smacks too much of political massaging. NHS Improvement and the Department of Health should be much more positive and upfront. It would help to attract candidates to these demanding jobs.”

Loss of management talent

Restell has also warned that the NHS risks losing further valuable management talent in the latest round of reorganisation if it doesn’t find a better way to manage redeployment across the system.

Commenting on revelations that NHS Improvement’s leadership committee had approved nine compulsory redundancies at board level, he said: “Hospital and CCG mergers will create more compulsory redundancies at board level. MiP believes national leadership bodies should become better at structured redeployment across the system.” 

He added: “Many members, particularly younger chief executives and directors, want to continue with careers in the NHS but find system attitudes have not moved on from earlier reorganisations. A more proactive, supportive approach would save money and retain skills in an area of staff shortage.”

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