NHS chief executives have pocketed a 4.5% basic pay rise, taking the median earnings over £150,000.
Pay analysts Incomes Data Services conducted a study of boardroom pay in the health service which highlighted a widening wage gap between foundation and non-foundation bosses.
According to the study, one in eight non-medical chiefs and seven out of 10 medical directors in England earned more than £150,000 last year, showing a 4.5% jump – three times higher than the Department of health's pay guidance rise of 1.5%.
Steve Tatton of IDS said: "For those wanting to see NHS directors' pay curbed, our latest pay findings may come as a disappointment.
"The government has stressed the importance of senior staff in the public sector showing leadership in the exercise of pay restraint in the current economic climate.
"With salary rises running at these levels, such restraint so far does not seem to have been a feature of boardroom pay deliberations, especially in foundation trusts.
"The government wants to bear down on senior executive pay in the public sector, yet it also wants to see decisions made locally without interference from central authorities. The issue for NHS organisations is: will they be free to pay their senior executives what they decide is necessary or will they have to follow externally imposed pay restraints?"
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