As the Conservative Party Conference discussed the NHS on Tuesday 4 October, it has been revealed that hospital bosses have been given huge pay rises. The increases, signed off by Tory ministers, have seen some fat cats get a staggering 101% increase in their pay. But at the same time, unions have warned that in five years time the NHS could be paying nurses below the minimum wage.
Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) and seen by The Canary revealed that 22 NHS Trusts applied for pay rises for their bosses, which were approved. These people’s salaries are usually between £18,621 and £23,600 and if a trust wants to pay more it must be signed off by the government. But when you realise who some of these bosses are, it is of little surprise.
Peter Molyneux, Chair of the South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust, saw his wage increase from £18,621 to £37,500. That’s a pay rise of 101%. Molyneux also runs a consultancy firm, CommonCause Consulting. Its clients include the City of London Corporation, NHS England and Tory-run Thurrock District Council. But Molyneux also does consultancy work for One Housing Group, whose Chief Executive, Mick Sweeney, spoke at the Conservative Party conference on Sunday 2 October. Furthermore, CommonCause also work for private companies involved in the NHS, such as Tunstall Telecom and Datix.
Another NHS boss who got a substantial pay rise was John Bacon, Chair of Barts Health Trust. Bacon’s salary went from £23,600 to £45,000, a 91% increase. A former civil servant for the Department of Health, Bacon now works directly for them as Chair of Community Health Partnerships. He also sat on the panel appointed by David Cameron to investigate Jimmy Savile in 2012.
John MacDonald, Chair of University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust was already on £36,865 before he got another pay rise. MacDonald is also a director of IMD Consultancy, a firm who work “extensively” in the public sector. One such example was a “Commercial management” project it did for a medium-sized NHS Foundation Trust. It says it helped the trust “get more for less”; what it actually did was close 160 beds – framing it as an “opportunity“. In total, IMD sells its services to 123 NHS organisations across the UK.
In total, NHS bosses saw pay rises of nearly £300,000 since June 2015. And this all comes at a time when unions are warning that the NHS is facing a wage crisis.