Top doctors are earning more than chief executives in more than one-third of trusts, according to a survey of annual accounts.

Analysts Pay and Workforce Research say figures for 1996-97 reveal that in almost 40 per cent of trusts the highest paid director is not the chief executive. In most cases it is the medical director - paid both as a consultant and a board member, says PWR.

The maximum total salary for a highest paid director in a teaching trust was 172,000. The median total salary for the highest-paid directors was 79,000, 'almost 18 per cent more than the median total earnings for chief executives of 67,000 for all trusts in the UK'.

Remuneration of highest paid directors in NHS trusts. Pay and Workforce Research. 01423- 842684. 20.50.