Published: 17/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5943 Page 9

The first NHS chief executive to break through the£200,000 a year pay barrier is Hammersmith Hospitals trust chief executive Derek Smith, a pay survey has revealed.

The survey, published by research group Incomes Data Services, reveals that the seven highestpaid acute trust chief executives all received salaries above£150,000 in the financial year to March 2004.

During that time, the most highlypaid primary care trust chief executives received£117,500, and the gap between acute trust and PCT chief executive pay did not appear to be narrowing.

On average, acute trust chief executives in England were paid£112,500, while PCT chief executives got£92,500. Ambulance trust chief executives were the lowest paid on average, at£85,000.

Hospital trust chief executives' pay varied widely in the rest of the UK. Scottish chief executives received£95,500 on average, Northern Irish chief executives got£87,500, and Welsh chief executives received even more than the average for London acute trust chief executives at£116,000.

Some chief executives argued that individual remuneration packages could not be compared because of the widely differing jobs that chief executives performed.