HOSPITAL bosses in South Tyneside have defended management pay rises while wages for frontline nurses are capped.
The number of senior NHS staff earning more than £100,000 a year has grown nationally – despite nurses facing a two-year pay freeze and seeing their pay rises capped at one per cent this financial year.
Lorraine Lambert, pictured below, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s executive director, has had an increase of some £5,000 – taking her salary up to between £165,000 and £170,000.
But colleagues say the increase is because she has taken on more responsibility.
Ian Frame, the Trust’s executive director for personnel and development, said: “The NHS has differentials in salary between different groups of staff and it is quite normal for the chief executive and very senior managers to be on higher levels of salary than other staff.
“The NHS is probably quite unusual in that the chief executive is often not the highest paid member of staff.
“A few senior managers in this Trust will be receiving salary increases as a result of increasing their responsibilities, as the Trust has doubled in size since 2011, having taken on responsibility for community health services in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland, in addition to the borough’s hospital services.
“However, like the nurses and most other NHS staff, they have not received any cost of living increase in recent years.
“It is fully acknowledged how hard nurses continue to work, as do all staff in the NHS, including senior managers.”
Glenn Turp, the northern regional director of the Royal College of Nursing, believes the rises sends out the wrong message.
He said: “We need to both attract and retain the highest quality nurses and health care assistants to the profession, if we are to ensure that the highest clinical standards are delivered.
“But this sort of finding makes that challenge all the more difficult.
“It sends out completely the wrong message, and seriously damages staff morale.”