NHS boss’s salary “hard to justify” says Royal College of Nurses

Interim chief executive of Whittington Health Simon Pleydell said ensuring stability at the top was

Interim chief executive of Whittington Health Simon Pleydell said ensuring stability at the top was a key goal for the trust. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Boss’s more than £250,000 package could pay 12 nurses’ wages

An Islington hospital has denied that its chief executive earns a salary of over a quarter of a million pounds, the equivalent of 12 NHS nurses. Simon Pleydell was the second highest-earner in a list of “fat cat” NHS bosses published last week, making £285,000 last year.

The Whittington Trust denies the reported annual pay check for Simon Pleydell, who was appointed permanent chief executive of the trust in November 2014.

However, the trust’s annual report show the total earning of over a quarter of a million pounds.

The large pay cheque has angered the Royal College of Nursing. The college’s regional director Bernell Bussue said: “Pay for frontline nursing staff has run 8% below inflation for the past five years and the Government have said they plan another five years of real terms NHS pay cuts. The result is that we are facing a huge nursing shortage here in London, as the cost of living goes up and health staff find it harder to make ends meet.”

A spokesperson for the hospital said: “Simon receives a salary of £190,000 annually. It is important for the trust to have a strong leadership team. Simon has extensive experience to lead and develop the organisation and his salary is a reflection of this.”

However, the trust’s annual report shows a total earning of £285,000 last year.

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A spokesperson for the trust said that due to the fact Mr Pleydell had been on an interim salary when he initially joined the trust on April 1, 2014, his total earnings this year were higher.

The report also showed a total payout of £100,000 over the year to Yi Mien Koh, the former chief executive, despite her departure from the trust in March.

Mr Bussue added: “In this context it seems pretty hard to justify that some in leadership positions are earning as much as ten times the amount of ordinary frontline staff who work day and night to keep the health service going. Nurses will rightly wonder why financial challenges mean they face an ongoing pay freeze and the threat of job cuts, but pay at the very top continues to rise.”

The figures were revealed after an analysis of hospital annual accounts from 2014 to 2015. The list comprised of 60 chief executives who earn more than the Prime Minister’s £145,500 annual salary.

The highest earning boss was Dr Tracey Batten of Imperial Wharf College who took home £342,000 last year. Following Whittington Trust in second place, the trusts paying out most to their chief executives include Barts Health, West Middlesex and London North West Healthcare.