£260,000 pay package for NHS boss

Date: Wednesday 3rd January 2018

A NATIONAL Health Service boss is being paid £260,000 for working across two health trusts.

Stephen Eames, an NHS “turnaround expert”, now leads both North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUHT), which runs the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, based at the Voreda building in Portland Place, Penrith. He spends two-and-a-half days a week working for each organisation. He joined the Carlisle trust on secondment in January, 2016, from the Wakefield-based Mid-Yorkshire NHS Trust, going full-time in April that year.

In September this year, he agreed to take on the two-and-a-half day per week interim chief executive position at the Penrith-based trust, which runs community and mental health services countywide.

His appointment there followed the departure of former chief executive Claire Molloy, who left the £190,000-a-year role for a job in Greater Manchester.

Mr. Eames was recommended for the job by the Penrith trust’s board of directors. The future of local health services and community hospitals has been top of the agenda following the controversial Success Regime process.

He remains on his original £265,000 salary and is on secondment from the Wakefield-based trust which “recharges” the two Cumbria trusts for his pay.

He does not receive any pension contributions and, so far, there has been no increase in his salary for the new job, a freedom of information request has shown.

The NCUHT said: “No bonuses have been paid to the chief executive officer during this time.”

Annual reports for the trust in 2016-17 show that Mr. Eames claimed £23,700 in expenses. In 2014, he was named by the Health Service Journal as one of the country’s top 50 NHS bosses, being recognised for his “experience, resilience, and focus on quality and safety”.

In October, the North Cumbria trust was found to “require improvement” following an inspection in July. The finding was the same as the CQC’s previous inspection in April, 2015. The trust’s A&E performance, however, has climbed above the national average, going from 80th in February, 2016, to 44th in February, 2017. It was also taken out of special measures in December, 2016.

It reported a £47.3 million deficit at the end of the 2016-17 financial year — £2.2 million less than forecast.