NHS boss gets £68,000 in bonuses- on top of six figure salary
NHS bosses are earning annual bonuses of tens of thousands of pounds on top of their six figure salaries as Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, got £68,000 in bonuses.
Hundreds of chief executives, departmental directors and board members of hospitals and other NHS organisations have received extra payments of as much as £32,000 – the largest single year’s bonus unearthed by freedom of information requests submitted by the Liberal Democrats.
The £32,000 bonus went in 2008-09 to Beccy Fenton, deputy chief executive of the Heart of England hospital trust, who already earns £170,000 a year. She received it after generating almost £1m of consultancy work for her employers, including private sector contracts. The trust stressed last night that the £32,000 was a one-off sum for consultancy work.
Anna Walker, who was chief executive of the Healthcare Commission until it was disbanded last year, earned the largest combined amount in the past three years – £68,150 on top of her six-figure salary. She received £22,375 in 2006-07, £23,000 in 2007-08 and £22,775 in 2008-09 for running the then NHS watchdog in England.
Norman Lamb, the Lib Dems’ health spokesman, condemned the payments as shocking. “These bonuses are utterly scandalous. People will be disgusted by the extent to which fat cats in the public sector have been enriched at a time when the NHS has denied people drugs that they need and access to treatments such as in mental health,” he said. “We thought it was just in banking, but the unacceptable bonus culture appears to be alive and kicking in the upper echelons of the NHS.”
This is the first time both the number of bonuses and their size has been disclosed. The Lib Dems sought information from every hospital trust, primary care trust (PCT), mental health trust and ambulance service in England, as well as other NHS bodies such as strategic health authorities.
While some pay no bonuses, many do. However, the figures do not reveal the full picture because some refused to disclose theirs and a few simply gave their chief executive’s salary band.
The £32,000 one-off bonus and the £68,150 over three years are large but not atypical.
Laura Roberts, chief executive of the Manchester PCT, received £25,732 extra in 2008-09, while Dr Patrick Geoghegan, her counterpart at South Essex Partnership mental health trust – who earns £170,000-180,000 – received £20,573 in the same year for helping it do well against NHS targets.
South Essex trust spokeswoman Maxine Forrest, said: “In 2008-09, to recognise the trust’s exceptional performance in national ratings, a one-off bonus was paid. Dr Patrick Geoghegan is chief executive of one of the most successful and highest-performing NHS organisations in the country.”
Paul O’Connor, a former chief executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, received a one-off £15,000 bonus in 2007 for helping it to achieve semi-independent foundation trust status within the NHS. He resigned late in 2008 after the Observer revealed doctors’ concerns that some care was sub-standard.
The chief executive of the Royal Berkshire hospital trust received £54,611 in bonuses over three years in 2007-09, while the chief executive of the Human Tissue Authority was given £37,895 in 2006-09.
Many chairmen, divisional directors and both executive and non-executive directors of NHS bodies also receive bonuses. The Royal Berkshire hospital trust spent £240,728 on bonuses in 2007-09, more than any other NHS body that provided figures. Eight executive directors shared another £186,117, as well as the £54,611 payment to the chief executive.
Large payments to senior figures in those three years were also made by the Healthcare Commission (£215,550), the London Ambulance Service (£130,646), the Hertfordshire Partnership mental health trust (£122,465) and Portsmouth Hospitals (£105,000).
All three main parties have pledged to slash NHS management and bureaucracy. “This is the first real analysis of the bonus culture at the top of the NHS, and it’s shocking,” said Lamb. “Bonuses of £20,000 or more are more than many NHS staff receive as their full year’s salary.”
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