‘Fat cat’ ambulance chiefs accused in row

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust Chief Executive David Whiting

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust Chief Executive David Whiting

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TOP executives at Yorkshire’s ambulance service have been condemned after being awarded “outrageous” pay rises of up to 30 per cent.

Unions have reacted furiously to the pay hikes in the wake of pay freezes or annual rises limited to one per cent for most staff since 2011, although some ambulance workers have seen pay cuts under a controversial re-banding process.

Figures reveal chief executive David Whiting saw his salary rise nearly 10 per cent to £141,000 in 2013-14. Finance and performance director Rod Barnes saw his pay go up from £95-100,000 to £115-120,000, while director of standards and compliance Steve Page saw his rise from £85-90,000 to £110-115,000, an increase of at least 28 per cent.

Terry Cunliffe, regional officer at Unite, branded the hikes “outrageous”. “It’s disgraceful they are taking fat-cat pay rises whilst the rest of staff have their pay frozen or even face cuts in pay and pensions,” he said.

The service also employed private consultants at premium rates on its board. Interim director of workforce and strategy, Nick Cooke, earned £55-60,000 for three months’ work last summer, while Michael Fox-Davies, interim director of operations, picked up £115-120,000 between July and December - equivalent to as much as £288,000 over a full year.

Figures show half the staff at the ambulance service earned less than £21,400 last year.

Radiographers yesterday became the latest to join a wave of strike action by NHS staff later this month over Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s rejection of a recommended one per cent pay rise.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service said executive salaries had been reviewed due to higher-than-average turnover and difficulties in recruitment. An independent advisor found previous salaries were at the “bottom end” of salaries.

“Following the review they have been aligned more closely to those of similar posts but remain at the lower end of the scale of NHS director salaries,” said a spokeswoman.

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