The number of Department of Health staff earning more than £100,000 a year has risen from eight to 50 since 1997.

Annual figures show the number earning more than £100,000 peaked in 2005 at 71. During 2007 and 2008 the figure was 50.

The information was released in response to a parliamentary question from Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb.

Mr Lamb said: "For too long the government's priority has been increasing the amount of bureaucracy in the NHS.

"The explosion in the number of managers, not just in the Department of Health but across the NHS in general, is crazy when frontline services are under huge pressure.

"People will be shocked that so many civil servants are earning over£100,000 when nurses are struggling to make ends meet, especially after what looks like turning into a real terms pay cut."


A DH spokesman said: "Overall staff numbers in the Department of Health have reduced greatly over the last few years and because we're now more strategic we've a higher proportion of senior posts.

"Our pay policy enables us to attract and retain top quality staff to deliver the department's objectives in a competitive marketplace."

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