Senior managers at Whiston Hospital have received salary increases while pay to the trust’s nurses almost stood still, we can reveal.
Figures produced by health officials, and seen by the St Helens Reporter, show the average nurse working at Whiston and St Helens hospitals had a 0.4 per cent pay increase.
By contrast, chief executive Ann Marr’s salary band rose from a maximum of £165,000 to £170,000 - a rise of 3.1 per cent.
The nurses pay rise is way below the current rate of inflation, which stands at two per cent.
Nursing leaders today condemned the disparity between pay increases as “unacceptable”.
Steve Flanagan, regional director for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: “I’m sure RCN members working at the trust will be staggered by this news. Nurses and health care assistants are struggling to keep their heads above the water financially, as their pay levels fail to keep pace with the cost of living and inflation.
“They have had to cope with a two-year pay freeze. While the chancellor has promised to deliver a one per cent pay rise this year for the front line, even this is under threat, with the Secretary of State for Health trying to introduce a further pay freeze until March 2016.
“This is a clear example that there is one rule for the boardroom and another for the front line.
“This is completely unacceptable.”
Figures released to the Reporter under the Freedom of Information Act show the average nurse’s salary, including overtime payments, at Whiston went up from £34,183 in 2012 to £34,338 in 2013. Other senior executives also enjoyed pay rises in excess of the nurses.
Robert Oxley, campaign director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, condemned the pay rises awarded to senior hospital executives.
He said: “It’s absurd that already well-paid health chiefs have pocketed pay increases, especially when they’re faced with tough choices over NHS budgets.
“The health service is already top heavy with taxpayer-funded pay packets far too high for too many senior bureaucrats. Instead of dolling out pay rises trusts should instead focus on cutting waste and ensuring budgets are spent on patient care.”
However, hospital bosses say the trust’s board had “insisted” Ms Marr accept a pay rise after she volunteered to take a wage cut the previous year.
Roy Swainson, the trust’s chairman, said: “The chief executive’s salary banding is the same now as it was in 2010 as published in the trust’s annual report.
“The figure has only gone up this year because she refused part of her salary last year.
“This was a personal gesture to reflect the financial climate in the NHS and she should be praised for doing this.
“Under her leadership the Trust has been transformed and is now a leading organisation in the NHS, delivering high standards of care in world class facilities.
“To reflect these achievements the Trust Board insisted that she received her normal salary this year.
“Nurses are subject to national pay arrangements which are not determined by the trust. Nurse salaries can increase by up to five per cent year on year as per national terms and conditions.
“It is incorrect to compare two annual averages because this is distorted by issues such as grade mix and levels of enhancements paid. The contribution of every member of our staff is very much valued by the trust board.”