The new boss of the NHS’s financial watchdog will earn almost £300,000 a year despite an unprecedented cash crisis, it has been revealed.
Ian Dalton will take over as chief executive of NHS Improvement next month on a salary nearly double that of the Prime Minister.
He will lead an organisation whose role is to rein in the spending of hospitals and health trusts, and cut back on waste.
In a further twist, the watchdog has confirmed it is paying £8,000 a year to the country’s highest-earning university chief to work two to three days a month.
Dame Glynis Breakwell – the £468,000-a-year head of Bath University – is employed as NHS Improvement’s remuneration officer as a non-executive director. A spokesman said Dame Glynis was not involved in the approval of Mr Dalton’s salary.
The NHS is facing its worst financial crisis in a generation as it struggles to meet the needs of the ageing population on a very tightly constrained budget.
The NHS is facing its worst financial crisis in a generation as it struggles to meet the needs of the ageing population on a very tightly constrained budget
Last week, Chancellor Philip Hammond promised a £2.8billion cash injection over two years but this was a third of what experts had asked for. Tomorrow senior officials at NHS England will discuss imposing widespread rationing of painkillers and routine operations to try to save money.
Figures uncovered by the Health Service Journal show that Mr Dalton will earn £287,000 a year in his new post. This is nearly double the £150,000 salary paid to Theresa May and £92,000 more than the head of the NHS, Simon Stevens.
A spokesman said Mr Dalton would be paid the same salary as in his current post as chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare hospitals in West London. The 53-year-old will also benefit from the NHS’s generous pension scheme and his pension pot will be worth more than £1million by the time he retires.
Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP and former health minister, said: ‘Anyone who cares about healthcare recognises that you do need to pay proper salaries to hire people of the right calibre.
‘But paying someone almost £300,000 a year is a huge amount, especially at a time when basic operations are being cancelled. Meanwhile, we are losing huge numbers of nurses, doctors and ambulance staff because the Government say they cannot afford to pay the going rate. Something has clearly gone badly wrong.’
Dame Glynis Breakwell (left) – the £468,000-a-year head of Bath University – is employed as NHS Improvement’s remuneration officer as a non-executive director
Chloe Westley, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Whilst it’s important to attract the best talent, it can hardly be justifiable to offer this new NHS boss double the salary of our Prime Minister.
‘These figures show the public sector elite is not shouldering the burden of the public sector pay cap. Taxpayers expect their money to be spent fairly and focused on frontline services, not on six-figure salaries for those at the top.’
Mr Dalton, who is married with two children, said he would bring ‘valuable insight’ to the role.
He has been in his current job since June and has previously held senior roles at NHS England, the former North of England health board and the Health Department.
An NHS Improvement spokesman said his salary was recommended by the watchdog’s board and approved by the Treasury.
‘My job could be done for £150k’
Britain’s highest-paid university head declared she is ‘not embarrassed’ by the row over her £468,000 salary a day after announcing she is stepping down.
In interviews yesterday, Dame Glynis Breakwell claimed her pay was ‘not unreasonable’ for a person with ‘enormous experience’ and a ‘proven track record’.
But she also admitted her job as vice chancellor of Bath University could have been done for just £150,000.
Dame Glynis faced claims of greed and protests from students, staff and MPs over her salary before revealing she will retire next August after a six-month sabbatical on full pay. On ITV News, she said: ‘I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people with an enormous amount of experience and a proven track record to be rewarded.’
Dame Glynis also told Radio 4’s PM programme: ‘I’m not embarrassed by the fact people who have actively determined my salary did so in the way that they did.’
She denied being pushed out and insisted the university’s reputation had not been damaged by the controversy.