Nice work if you can get it
PUBLISHED: 10:39 23 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010
AN NHS body covering the East of England is willing to pay more than £90,000 a year for a director of communications despite the threat of 500 job losses in Comet country. The East of England Strategic Health Authority is offering a salary range of £80,00
AN NHS body covering the East of England is willing to pay more than £90,000 a year for a director of communications despite the threat of 500 job losses in Comet country.
The East of England Strategic Health Authority is offering a salary range of £80,000 to £90,000 for the post, with "more available for exceptional candidates".
At the higher end of the scale, this figure is five times the starting salary of a newly-qualified nurse, who can expect to earn around £18,000.
The SHA is one of 10 new bodies created in England earlier this year and oversees the work of primary care, hospital, ambulance, and mental health trusts in the region.
A spokesman defended the salary, saying: "Communications is a vital task in the NHS.
"This is an important post, the role of which is to ensure good and effective communications between patients, public and the different parts of the NHS across the region.
"The salary for this post is in line with similar jobs in the public sector. Salary ranges are set according to a range of factors including responsibility levels and market forces."
But North East Herts Tory MP Oliver Heald hit out at the figure.
"At a time when 1,000 jobs in Hertfordshire in the NHS are threatened, it seems incredible that the priority of the strategic health authority is to bring in highly paid spin doctors," he said.
However, Stevenage Labour MP Barbara Follett said it was the fault of the media that such posts are needed.
She told The Comet: "Good, clear communication between the regional health service and the public is absolutely vital.
"Without it we get the kind of scare stories that have been appearing in our local press recently.
"Good communicators do not come cheaply but the salary for this post is in line with similar ones in the public sector.
"I wish such posts were not necessary. Perhaps if our press were more responsible they would not be.