A HEALTH trust chief has had his pay frozen for the next 12 months - but union bosses have still hit out saying his wage could employ 11 nurses.
Alan Foster, chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, gets paid between £240,000 and £245,000 a year.
The trust has decided to stop any wage increase for the health boss due to financial constraints being felt by front-line staff such as nurses.
A spokeswoman for the trust, which runs the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, said: “We can confirm the chief executive’s pay from 2013 was in the £240,000 to £245,000 pay range.
“It was decided that it would be inappropriate to award higher remuneration in the face of the constraints being felt by the rest of the staff.”
But despite the freeze for Mr Foster, union representatives from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) say the comparison of the chief’s wage compared to a nurse’s wage was “disproportionate.”
A spokeswoman for the RCN said Mr Foster’s wage could employ 11 nurses and added: “While we welcome the fact that some chief executives have shown solidarity with their front-line nurses, and have frozen their pay at the same time, the fact is that the Government has to start taking seriously the serious financial challenges now facing nurses and health care assistants.
“A band three healthcare assistant in Teesside starts on £16,271 a year currently. The impact of year-on-year below-inflation pay settlements have hugely disproportionate effects on front-line staff, because they are already struggling to make ends meet.”
Glenn Turp, regional director of the RCN added: “Front-line nurses and health care assistants have already borne the brunt of the Government’s pay restraint policy over many years. We know that, once inflation is factored in, NHS salaries have been cut between eight and 12 per cent, 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.”