A director cost Leeds hospitals £300,000 for less than a year’s work – as a temporary boss.
Clive Walsh was interim chief operating officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust between May 2012 and April this year.
His salary was between £295,000 and £300,000 or approximately £1,300 per working day.
That is £75,000 more than the hospital trust’s chief executive at the time, Maggie Boyle, and also more than Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS, whose basic salary is £211,000 a year.
The trust’s accounts say Mr Walsh was employed via a “third party agency” and the amount represents the full cost payable to the agency for his services.
Prior to his appointment, the role of chief operating officer did not exist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, but bosses said they needed an experienced director at short notice.
Leeds East MP George Mudie said the cost was “unacceptable”.
He added: “They seem to be picking up the bad habits of the private sector. This is just another example of where they think they can write a blank cheque in six figures because it’s a top job.”
Advertisements for the role were published in November last year, with a December closing date.
It was announced in March this year that Mark Smith had been appointed as chief operating officer on a permanent basis.
Leeds hospitals would not reveal how much of the £300,000 cost of Mr Walsh’s services had gone to the agency.
But in 2011 it was revealed that Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation trust had paid more than £300,000 a year for former interim chief executive Peter Reading, including £59,000, plus VAT, to the agency who arranged his services.
Former Leeds hospitals interim chief executive Mr Walsh previously worked in a series of other interim chief operating officer roles around the country.
Those included at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, where public documents show his role cost the trust up to £200,000 for 10 months in 2010, including payment to recruitment agency Morgan Hunt.
A spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals said: “Mr Walsh’s services were secured at short notice as we needed an appropriately qualified and experienced individual who could carry out the key task of chief operating officer during an interim period until the post was ready to be filled on a permanent basis.
“In such circumstances it is not unusual to use the services of a specialist agency to obtain the right candidate.
“Executive pay is overseen by a Remuneration Committee of non-executive directors, who approve the sums paid to individuals.
“Leeds Teaching Hospitals is one of the largest NHS trusts in the country with a budget of £1bn annually, so pay naturally reflects the considerable responsibilities of individual roles.”