NHS boardroom pay outpaces 2% public sector pay cap

National Health Service (NHS) Trust directors in England received an average pay rise of 6.4% last year, ahead of the government’s 2% target for public sector pay increases, according to the latest NHS Boardroom pay report 2009 by Incomes Data Services (IDS).

The report also highlighted the growing gap between the earnings of foundation and non-foundation trust executives. Executive salaries within foundation trusts increased by an average of 7.6% last year, compared to 5.7% for executives within non-foundation trusts. The median salary for a chief executive of a NHS Foundation Trust stood at £157,000 for the year to March 2008, compared to £132,600 for a chief executive of a non-foundation NHS Trust.

Steve Tatton, editor of the report said: “The earnings of NHS Trust directors are continuing to move ahead at a faster pace than the rest of the economy. In the current climate, the remuneration of NHS directors, like any top executives working in the public sector, is subject to intense public scrutiny, particularly when unease about the widening gap between senior executives and the rest of the workforce is growing in both the public and private sector.

“It is argued that the reorganisation of the NHS has put boards under increased pressure and this is driving above-average pay rises, with salaries increasing faster for executives within newly-established foundation trusts than in non-foundation trusts.”

The news comes as data from the Office for National Statistics yesterday revealed that private sector pay had fallen for the first time since official records began eight years ago.