Published: 15/08/2002, Volume III, No. 5818 Page 7

Senior NHS managers in Scotland are being lured away by better salaries to manage smaller budgets in England, the Scottish Executive has been warned.

A high political turnover - with three health ministers since Labour came to power in 1997 - incessant management reviews and increased scrutiny have been blamed for a high attrition rate.

Donald McNeill, Scottish secretary of the Institute of Healthcare Management, said he had raised the issue with Trevor Jones, chief executive of NHS Scotland. 'In the last few months, Lothian, Ayrshire and Glasgow have lost high-profile managers whose skills are sought elsewhere, in certain instances at considerably higher salaries, ' said Mr McNeill.

'In some instances they are getting higher salaries for posts where they are controlling smaller budgets. This means a lack of continuity at local level at a time when managers are trying to implement the national plan for health.

'It also reflects a lack of continuity at national political level.

We have seen three health ministers since 1997 and so many deputy ministers It is hard to keep track.'

North Glasgow University Hospitals trust chief executive Maggie Boyle is the latest highprofile manager to hand in her resignation. She moves from Scotland's largest trust, which in 2000-01 had an income of just over£400m, to Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals trust, which has less than half the income.

HSJ understands that Miss Boyle's pay package will rise from£112,000 this year in Glasgow to approximately£120,000 in Liverpool.

Miss Boyle, who takes up her new post in mid-October, said:

I've done the job I was asked to do in Glasgow over the last four years, and now It is time for a different manager to benefit from that. Liverpool will be a different type of challenge and I am looking forward to it, but money was not the motivator.'

Stephen Greep, currently chief executive of Ayrshire and Arran Acute Hospitals trust, with a 200001 trust income of£160m, will move to Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals trust, which had an income of£213m for 2000-01. In the same year, the Hull post carried a price tag of£122,000 compared to£79,000 in Ayrshire, according to Income Data Services.

Mr Greep was not available to comment.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Executive said: 'We recognise a number of chief executives in acute trusts in Scotland have said they are leaving their posts.At least two have been under pressure from the media for their handling of issues within the trusts.

'While we continue to attract high-calibre applicants for chief executive posts, we are competing in a UK marketplace and are monitoring the position to ensure we continue to get top-quality applicants for these top posts.'

Mr McNeill said acute trusts, seen as the barometer of how the health service is performing, are under most pressure because they have to achieve targets with staff shortages. The increased scrutiny, both from MSPs and bodies like the Clinical Standards Board for Scotland, increased the pressure, he said.

The prospect of further reorganisation following a white paper expected this winter made it difficult for managers to concentrate on core business, he added.

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