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Cash strapped hospital pays boss £2,557 a day

Dorset County Hospital Trust has come under fire for paying £2,557 a day to an interim chief executive while at the same time trying to cut costs by £20m.

The Trust’s annual report also revealed that Derek Smith claimed £19,539 in expenses on top of the £248,041 he was paid for undertaking 97 days work.

The Trust also spent £1,230 a day on interim turnaround director James Shillito; £1,194 a day on interim director of finance Terry Tonks; and £663 a day on interim director of human resources Tracey Peters. The trio also claimed £8,802, £16,755 and £4,040 in expenses respectively.

Trust chairman Dr Jeffrey Ellwood defended the actions, saying: "We needed to recruit a strong team following the departure of key members of the board. We were facing a £7.4m deficit and had no credible recovery plan in place.

"In that position it would have been extremely difficult to recruit a permanent chief executive or finance director, so we took the decision to appoint a team of experienced interims with proven track records in turning around organisations in financial difficulties. Together these appointments cost the trust £647,000.”

He went on to insist that under the guidance of the executives, the Trust had developed a “recovery plan which now stands us in very good stead for tackling our financial challenges”.

[quote top=Tanya Palmer, regional head of health at Unison, was, however, unimpressed, saying:]The idea that you pay a manager £2,557 a day when the hospital is desperate to save money is ludicrous, and claiming on an extra £20,000 in expenses is adding insult to injury.

Most nurses earn around £1,800 a month after tax and to see someone earning hundreds of pounds more than that for just one day will be galling.[/quote]