Like the top tiers of the SIC, the senior ranks of NHS Shetland’s workforce recieve salaries that massively outstrip the sums paid to the average-paid worker.
While exact figures are not published, NHS Shetland accounts for the year to 31 March 2013 give banded salaries (including pension contributions) for board members and unnamed clinicians and others earning over £50,000.
Although the NHS Shetland accounts for the latest financial year have yet to be published, according to the online health service publication NHE, locum hospital practitioners, clinical assistant doctors and senior managers in the NHS (in England) got the largest percentage pay increases in the last year, while frontline staff had to make do with pay rises of less than one per cent.
According to NHE, the largest annual increase of 4.4 per cent in full-time equivalent (FTE) salaries went to locum hospital practitioners and clinical assistant doctors, taking their mean pay up to £62,895. Some Shetland locums are understood to earn substantially more than this – adding to the financial pressure on NHS Shetland.
To put this in perspective anyone on the minimum wage of £6.50 working a full-time 40 hour week will earn £13,520 in a year, while the average full-time wage in Scotland in 2013 was just under £26,500.
Top of the remuneration heap in NHS Shetland is director of public health Dr Sarah Taylor who is bracketed in the £160,000 to £165,000 band, which includes her salary and pension contributions. Matching Dr Taylor’s salary one other unnamed clinician listed in the 160 to £170,000 band.
Dr Taylor’s partner Jim Unsworth is employed by HNS Shetland as consultant physician at Gilbert Bain Hospital. He is likely to be among the health authority’s top earners.
Senior sources, who have declined to be named, say there are three married doctor couples in NHS Shetland who earn over £250,000 between them. There are also understood to be part-time GPs working in Lerwick who earn over £100,000 per year – putting them on a par with the SIC’s chief executive Mark Boden..
Other top earning board executives include chief executive Ralph Roberts, who in 2012/13 earned between £100,000 and £105,000; medical director Roger Diggle £90,000 to £95,000; director of nursing Kathleen Carolan £80,000 to £85,000; finance director Colin Marsland £65,000 to £70,000 and director of human resources Lorraine Hall, banded at £70,000 to £75,000 .
Other board members include director of clinical services Simon Boker-Ingram on £95,000 to £100,000 (whose cost is now shared with the council); chairwoman of the Area Clinical Forum Dr Susan Laidlaw was banded at £75,000 to £80,000, including £5,000 to £10,000 for her board duties and employee director Norma Laurenson who likewise received £5,000 to £10,000 of that for her board duties.
In the clinician grades, two individuals were banded at £140,000 to £150,000, one at £130,000 to £140,000, two on £120,000 to £130,000, three each on £100,000 to £110,000 and £110,000 to £120,000 and a total of 37 earning between £50,000 and £100,000.
Other NHS Shetland staff included seven individuals who earned between £50,000 and £90,000.
It is not just salaries for senior ranks that are hefty. Dr Taylor had amassed a cash equivalent transfer value (CETV) pension pot of £1,108,000 by March 31 3013 – up £113,000 from the previous year. Her pension CETV increase in the one-year alone was close to 10 times a year’s pay on the minimum wage.
Mr Roberts has a relatively modest pension cash equivalent of £486,000 while Mr Marsland has £235,000. Mr Boker-Ingram had a pension CETV of £326,000, Dr Laidlaw had £313,000 and Ms Laurenson had £272,000.
The total pension CETV for the board amounted to £3,020,000, up from ££2,734,000 in 2011/12.
Among non-executive directors NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh was on £25,000 to £30,000 while a further six non-executives including councillors Drew Ratter, Malcolm Bell and Cecil Smith were banded at £5,000 to £10,000.
NHS Shetland chief executive Ralph Roberts said that NHS board remuneration was comparable to or lower than equivalent posts in Shetland Islands Council. It also includes superannuation contributions.
His own salary of £88,000 (not including superannuation) was less than that of SIC chief executive Mark Boden, for instance.
And clinicians, who are paid on a separate, medical, scale, do not have any direct equivalents in the council.
Mr Roberts said that it was not easy to make strict comparisons as there were three different pay systems in the NHS – that of clinicians, senior management and those of lower staff governed by the “agenda for change” agreement.
He added that while no senior manager in the health board could plead poverty or that they were worse hit by the freeze the down turn in the economy had had on wages, there had been attempts to protect lower paid staff such as nurses and cleaners.
In common with other senior managers of the health board, he had no inflationary pay rise for several years and got his first rise of one per cent last year, which was in line with lower paid NHS staff who also received one per cent as part of the agenda for change.
Mr Roberts pointed to the difference between the remuneration for the highest earning director compared with the median earning of £27,182 for NHS Shetland employees. At a ratio of 5:1 it was very equitable for an organisation. The ratio of his own pay compared with the median was even lower – about 3:1.
He said: “I do not think there are many other organisations in the country where you could say that relationship is as low as one to three.
“If you look at it in a hierarchical sense it would not be fair to say we are staggeringly well paid compared with other organisations in the way that differentiate between directors and average workers.
“The other thing is that in the health service we have all paid a price for the situation the country has been in, in terms of economics. Public sector pay has not increased as fast as we would like and particularly for the worst paid staff that is a very significant issue for them in the short term.”
For a table detailing NHS Shetland board salaries see The Shetland Times, 26th September edition.