Senior health service managers have seen their pay “grind to a halt”, new data suggests.

The latest NHS Boardroom pay report by Incomes Data Services also reveals the pay gap between foundation trust and non-foundation trusts has closed with the median total remuneration for both groups of chief executives at £157,500 for the last year.

Median pay for foundation trust chief executives rose from £122,500 in 2006 to a high of £162,500 in 2010. It then dropped to £157,500 in 2011.

For non-foundation trust chief executives, median pay rose from £122,500 in 2006, growing steadily each year to £155,000 in 2011. When benefits are added on - which are incorporated as part of FT chiefs’ overall salary - their renumeration also totals £157,500.

For those in post before the last two years their median salary rise was zero.

Median salaries of English foundation and non-foundation trust chief executives 2006 to 2011 £(000s):



According to the report, this marks the end of a trend in high wage growth among senior NHS board members, signalling the public sector cuts have started to impact at senior levels within the NHS.

With inflation running at 3.5 per cent, according to the consumer prices index, it essentially means senior managers have seen a pay cut in real terms.

The report also showed board-level turnover in NHS trusts had increased to 24 per cent last year, up from 17 per cent two years ago

Steve Tatton, editor of the IDS Executive Compensation Review, said: “It appears that those at the top of the NHS have responded to calls for pay restraint, with the previously steady growth of pay at the top grinding to a halt.

He added: “Those remaining in post are earning less in real terms than those who occupied those posts in the previous year. It remains to be seen whether this is a temporary blip or the start of a longer- term trend.

“But as turnover rates of senior level NHS staff continue to rise, the question must be asked as to what impact instability at the helm will have on performance.”

According to IDS, pay for NHS chief executives increased by 115 per cent between 1997 and 2009.


Median total remuneration levels for English trust executive directors 2010-11

Board positionAll hospital trustsPrimary care trusts
Chief executive£157,500£142,500
Finance director£117,500£107,200
Facilities director£97,950£87,500
HR director£97,500£86,100
Medical director£176,250£111,400
Nursing director£102,500£91,250
Operations director£107,500£92,500
Service delivery director£98,500£91,000
Strategy director£97,500£92,500