Fury at £300,000 cost of interim hospital boss

FURIOUS union officials say they are appalled after it emerged Doncaster health bosses were paying more than £300,000 a year for an interim chief executive.

Peter Reading was paid more than £230,000 in the 12 months to March as the interim chief executive at the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation trust, which runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

The deal included an additional fee of £59,000, plus VAT, paid to an agency for arranging his services, taking the total to £300,000.

Rianne Johnson, secretary of the Doncaster health workers branch of Unison said: “Unison are absolutely appalled and disgusted by this obscene amount of public money paid to a public sector chief executive.

“If half of his salary had been used to pay for new equipment in the laundry at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, then our members would not be facing the risk of outsourcing and compulsory redundancies.

“I would also urge the Remuneration Committee who made this award to seriously consider their position.”

Dr Reading is due to leave the trust shortly, following the appointment of a permanent chief executive.

The trust is currently working towards a savings target of £16 million for 2011 to 2012.

But Joe Barnes, the deputy trust board chairman, defended the appointment, which was made at short notice following the death of previous boss Nigel Clifton.

He said: “The remuneration paid to Interim Chief Executive, Peter Reading, was negotiated with a specialist agency dealing in interim placements, which received a facility fee of £59,000 plus VAT for its work.

“The terms of this arrangement mean that we pay no national insurance and no employer’s contribution to pension.

“In the NHS, this is calculated at 24 per cent.

“On top of this, we pay no annual leave or sick leave, and no expenses, even for work-related trips. To compare like with like, therefore, his remuneration is an equivalent salary of, at most, £178,600.

“Peter has been an outstanding interim appointment. At the board’s request he is still involved in completing work on some specific tasks and is supporting Ron Calvert, his successor, during his induction period.”