Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anger over 90% Wage Increase for Health Boss; Hundreds of Staff Losing Their Jobs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anger over 90% Wage Increase for Health Boss; Hundreds of Staff Losing Their Jobs

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Rae

AHEALTH boss has been awarded a 90% pay rise while hundreds of staff at his trust are set to be made redundant.

Jules Preston has been reappointed as chairman of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust for a further three years.

He has been in the post since April 2006, but his reappointment has seen his pay package increase by pounds 19,000 to pounds 40,000 per year for his part-time role, despite 300 jobs at the trust being earmarked for redundancy over the next two years.

Earlier this year the organisation was awarded Foundation status and its nomination committee said Mr Preston's pay rise reflected the changing role, size and complexity of the trust.

Last night, unions said they were appalled that during a time of belt-tightening and front-line redundancies, the NHS manager was seeing his pay packet swell.

A Northern Royal College of Nursing (RCN) spokesman said: "This is completely inappropriate and I suspect RCN members will be understandably outraged.

"At a time when nurses are on a two-year pay freeze, it is frankly staggering that anyone in the NHS should get a 90% pay rise.

"Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust has already told the RCN that it is losing 300 staff over the next two years. This pay rise alone is the equivalent of a whole nurse's salary."

Mr Preston's role is part-time and includes chairing committee meetings. The organisation is one of the largest mental health and disability NHS trusts in England.

His salary is said to be at the lower levels of remuneration for Foundation Trust chairs and will be re-assessed next year. Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's chairman receives up to pounds 55,000 and Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust chairman gets up to pounds 50,000.

Trevor Johnston, Unison's lead officer for health in the North East, said: "Any pay rise for a senior person is very unfair as the extra amount could keep one person in a job at the trust. …

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