Pay growth grinds to a halt for NHS senior executives

Pay growth for senior NHS board directors has ground to a halt with pay for chief executives frozen over the last year, according to figures from Incomes Data Services (IDS).

The NHS boardroom pay report showed that the median total pay for chief executives across all English NHS trusts during the last year was running at £157,500, while for those in post over the last two years there was no median salary rise.

IDS said this marks a reversal in a long-term trend of high wage growth among NHS board members, a sign that the public sector cuts have started to affect the pay of senior-level executives.

With inflation running at 3.5% (according to the consumer prices index in March) this equates to a pay cut in real terms.

Steve Tatton, editor of the IDS executive compensation review, said: “It appears that those at the top of the NHS have responded to calls for pay restraint, with the previously steady growth of pay at the top grinding to a halt.

“This reflects the ongoing reorganisation and consolidation within the NHS, along with continued pressure from central government to reduce costs, increase efficiency and curb senior executive pay.”

According to IDS, the pay divide between chief executives of foundation and non-foundation trusts has closed, with both median total earnings the same over the last year, at £157,500.

IDS figures also showed that board-level turnover in NHS trusts ran high at 24% last year, up from just 17% two years ago.

Tatton said: “The turnover rate of senior level staff in the NHS remains high, as the impact of service reorganisations and cost cutting feeds through to management structures. Those remaining in post are earning less in real terms than those who occupied those posts the previous year. It remains to be seen whether this is a temporary blip or the start of a longer- term trend.”

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