A HEALTH boss brought in to turn around a troubled NHS authority was paid up to between £105,000 and £110,000 for less than four months’ work, the organisation has confirmed.
Ian Wilson received the money as interim chief executive of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) for working from December 10 to March 31.
Spokesman Annie Tysom yesterday said the money was paid for that period only and was not a pro rata rate.
It means he earned at least an equivalent of £1,363 a day if he worked each of the 77 weekdays in that period, not including official holidays.
If that rate of pay had continued he would have earned at least £315,000 for 12 months.
And interim chief operating officer Gina Shakespeare was paid between £115,000 and £120,000 for August 1 to March 31, or the equivalent of at least £680 a day.
Bosses refused to reveal exact pay, days worked or any daily rate but said interim leader roles can attract “significantly higher” rates.
OCCG was set up under a controversial shake-up of the NHS aimed at putting most spending power in the hands of GPs.
But chief executive Dr Stephen Richards announced he was stepping down in October saying it needed a “stronger clinical voice” than he was able to give it.
He got £130,000 to £135,000 for April 1 2013 to February 3 this year.
The group agreed to split the role between a non-clinical manager as chief executive and a clinical chairman and hired Mr Wilson while these were appointed.
Oxford East Labour MP Andrew Smith said: “These are enormous sums the commissioning group has paid to help get them out of the financial mess which the Government’s wholly unnecessary reorganisation of the NHS got them into.
“Whilst there is an argument, which needs to be looked into by the auditors, that this is the going rate for temporary staff of the necessary calibre, the public will be struck by the contrast between the unfairness on the clampdown on pay for the front-line staff actually providing care and these high salaries at the top.”
Dr Steven Richards
All staff should get a pay rise of at least one per cent in the current and next financial year, The Department of Health has said.
Full-time chief executive David Smith will start on Monday on a pay scale of between £120,000 and £150,000, replacing Mr Wilson, a former director of social services at Tower Hamlets Council who retired from that role in 2007.
This financial year OCCG has to cut £15.75m to balance its £635.7m budget, including plans to remove free transport to hospital for some patients.
This would axe free ambulance transport for planned appointments for up to 6,209 classed as least infirm, saving up to £795,833.
TaxPayers' Alliance director John O'Connell said: “Taxpayers will be shocked that their money is lining the pockets of NHS bosses rather than being used for essential frontline services.
“NHS staff have seen their pay frozen, and will wonder where the OCCG has managed to find £1,300 a day for the CEO.”
Larry Sanders, chairman of official NHS watchdog Healthwatch Oxfordshire, said: “Surprises, such as unexpectedly large expenditures, like these, need to be explained.”
The group is this month advertising for a full-time chief operating officer, to take over from Miss Shakespeare.
Annie Tysom, spokeswoman for OCCG, said: “Ian has a strong track record of helping challenged public sector organisations improve their financial performance and he was the ideal choice to help steer OCCG through the severe difficulties it faced.
“Many organisations in both the public and private sector employ interim staff with specific skills and expertise to help lead, develop and support the work of the organisation for a short time.
“For the interim roles of chief executive and chief operating officer, particularly in financially challenged organisations, pay can be significantly higher due to the difficult nature of the work and the very large sums of public money at stake.”
What the Clinical Commissioing Group does
LIKE other clinical commissioning groups formed on April 1 last year under a shake-up of the NHS, OCCG is responsible for deciding where most health service cash is spent in Oxfordshire.
Each GP practice is represented on one of six “locality groups” for each area of the county, including Oxford, and a member of each group sits on the ruling governing body.
The clinical commissioning groups are a legacy of the “internal market” in the NHS kick-started by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the late 1980s.
Supporters argue that by separating who funds services and who provides them, those in charge of spending can “shop around” and get best value for the patients.
But critics say this fragments NHS providers like hospital authorities as private firms and other organisations like charities can win contracts.
OCCG has faced rising demands from patients in a tight financial environment and agreed with county hospital managers not to pay nationally agreed rates so it could break even at the end of the 2013-14 financial year.
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