Behind the News

Ever wondered what the full story is behind the headline?    In this section we explain some of the detail behind a current item of news which is not always reported in full in the media and where necessary set the record straight.

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Executive Director Salaries - Reported in the Isle of Wight County Press 15th August 2014

You may have read in the County Press that both Karen Baker and Mark Pugh received a pay rise in the last year. This is not the case and has been reported incorrectly by the County Press following publication of the Trust’s Annual Report and Accounts

The pay of our senior Executives is determined by the Trust’s Remuneration Committee in accordance with guidance from the Department of Health and benchmarking information about Executive pay in the health service.   No Executive Director role  has received a pay rise since before the Trust was established in April 2012 and, even though they are contractually entitled to performance bonuses, both Karen and Executive Director of Finance Chris Palmer have declined payment of the performance bonus element of their remuneration.

When the Trust appointed Karen Baker to the £147,000 per annum role of Chief Executive we took the view that as this was her first CEO role and as she would be gaining experience we would withhold £30,000 of her salary for a period of at least 6 months and make it contingent on her achieving a number of very challenging objectives.  The pay rise referred to in the County Press is actually a reflection that Karen has been with us as CEO for 2 years, is performing at the level we would expect in that role and is now entitled to her full salary.   With regards to Mark Pugh, the increased amount referred to is actually £10,681 and is an increment applicable to his pay as a Consultant and in the role of Medical Director which took effect in 2013.  Under the terms of the Consultant contract Mark will not be due another increment for another 5 years.

As an aside you may find the following extract from page 29 of the 2013/14 Annual Report interesting: ‘The banded remuneration of the highest paid director in the Isle of Wight NHS Trust in the financial year 2013/14 was £145,000–£150,000. This was 5.7 times the median remuneration of the workforce, which was £25,783.’   Of course despite their significant responsibilities for running the largest organisation on the Island and one that deals with ‘life and death’ decisions, the pay of our Executive Directors benchmarks relatively low in comparison with other public sector Executives and in comparison with the private sector where there has been a big debate about Executive pay including a recent report from think tank the High Pay Centre.

Danny Fisher

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