Published: 24/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5944 Page 38

Salaries for finance professionals in the NHS are being pushed up as organisations struggle to recruit candidates with the necessary skills, according to a report from Hays Accountancy and Finance.

Topping the scale are directors of finance in larger acute trusts (budget£200m-plus), now earning an average of£86,955, and as much as£130,000 in London. This compares to an average of£73,682 for finance directors in smaller acute trusts.

Meanwhile, in larger primary care trusts (£200m-plus), finance directors earn an average of£77,100, compared to£66,650 in smaller PCTs.

'Pay increases will help to make NHS finance roles more appealing. But with a significant skills shortage, a recovering commercial sector and the threat to NHS pensions, organisations must still do more to attract staff, ' said Andy Robling of Hays.

'Many are having to consider a broader field of candidates, looking at skill sets rather than just experience, particularly in light of new initiatives from the Department of Health.' NHS finance salaries compare favourably to other parts of the public sector. Financial directors in central government earn an average of£67,625, while those in district and borough councils earn only£61,455.

At newly qualified level the differences are less pronounced, with an average salary of£28,955 paid to a newly qualified accountant in larger acute trusts compared to£27,958 in central government,£27,682 in district and borough councils and£29,650 in metropolitan borough councils, county councils and unitary authorities.

However, newly qualified and partly qualified accountant salaries are growing faster in the NHS than other parts of the public sector - with average salaries for some roles rising by as much as 6 per cent in the last 12 months.

The NHS also scores above other parts of the public sector on benefits, with finance professionals getting an average 29 days of annual leave and more likely to be offered a lease car.

www. hays. com