Front-line staff deserve more

Analysis by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has shown that NHS bosses have taken pay rises while front-line staff have experienced real terms pay cuts of up to 12 per cent.

The RCN Northern region compared chief executive salaries across all North East trusts for the financial year 2010-11 with that in 2012-13.

They found that Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has seen a nine per cent increase from £211,000 in 2010/11 to £230,000 in 2012/13 while while mid-band nurses managed a o.1 per cent increase.

Glenn Turp, RCN regional director said: “Front-line nurses and health care assistants have already borne the brunt of the Government’s pay restraint policy over many years. And we know that, once inflation is factored in, NHS salaries have in fact been cut between eight per cent and 12 per cent in real terms, between the period 2010 and 2014.

“The Chancellor promised to deliver a one per cent pay rise this year for the front line, but the Secretary of State for Health is now trying to introduce a further pay freeze until March 2016.

“This is completely unacceptable. It is particularly galling that the Government is quite happy for NHS managers to award themselves significant pay rises, while at the same time, the front line takes another hit.

“A one per cent pay increase is a perfectly reasonable and proportionate request, particularly when put in the context of the rises in senior managers’ pay.

“The Government needs to stop having one rule for the front-line nursing staff, and another for senior bosses. A full time mid-band three healthcare assistant earned £17,618 in 2012/13, but this is actually less than the pay rises awarded by some of our NHS trust bosses, between 2010 and 2013.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: ““The remuneration of our leadership team is decided independently to make sure that salaries are in line with those of other high performing NHS organisations.

“To be clear, however, along with the rest of our staff, no director at Northumbria Healthcare has had an increase in pay since the pay freeze was implemented in 2011/12.”