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Suffolk Coastal MP hits out at salary of health boss

PUBLISHED: 08:50 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:20 06 July 2010

A SUFFOLK MP has criticised the £235,000 salary of an under-fire health boss, calling the high wage packet “indefensible”.

John Gummer, MP for Suffolk Costal, said he was outraged that Sir Neil McKay, chief executive of the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA), was taking home such a huge salary, including a £2.

A SUFFOLK MP has criticised the £235,000 salary of an under-fire health boss, calling the high wage packet “indefensible”.

John Gummer, MP for Suffolk Costal, said he was outraged that Sir Neil McKay, chief executive of the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA), was taking home such a huge salary, including a £2.4million pension pot.

Mr Gummer, and other Conservative MPs in Suffolk, have previously called for the East's SHA to be scrapped to save the £12.3million it spent on management costs in 2007/08, and have highlighted its failures over plans to treat emergency heart attack patients outside Suffolk - proposals which are still being reviewed.

“I think the salary is an outrageous waste of money,” said Mr Gummer.

“I see no justification to pay nearly three quarters of a million pounds for a job that isn't necessary.

“The whole thing is an absolute nonsense and quite indefensible.”

Sir Neil's salary jumped from at least £215,000 in 2007/08 to between £235,000 and £240,000 last year, while seven other SHA directors were paid more than £100,000.

Meanwhile Sir Neil's pension pot rose to £2.4m at the end of the last financial year, compared to £1.75m the previous year.

A spokesman for the SHA, which does not provide any health services but aims to give "strategic leadership" to the region's NHS, said: “NHS East of England executive directors' salaries are in line with national pay scales.

“The national pay scales for senior NHS staff are set by the Department of Health and are adjusted each year by the government, following receipt of advice on any increases from the national pay review bodies for the staff groups concerned."

He added that the 2008/09 salaries included bonus payments for good performance.

Mr Gummer said: “They are paying bonuses when the SHA couldn't even handle the business of protecting my constituents by providing proper emergency heart attack cover.

“They failed to deal with the situation in Suffolk and it got out of control.”

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