Norfolk and Suffolk mental health chief’s salary soars by £35,000 to £175,000 - as service faces stringent budget cuts

Michael Scott CEO of the Norfolk and Suffolk FoundationTrust answering questions on the findings in

Michael Scott CEO of the Norfolk and Suffolk FoundationTrust answering questions on the findings in Care Quality Commission report. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

A mental health service under severe financial strain raised the salary of its chief executive by £35,000 – as its frontline NHS staff dealt with tough pay cuts.

In February, the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust became the first mental health foundation trust in the country to be put into special measures after a damning report from watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

It has faced stringent budget cuts, with the average pay steadily falling from £26,557 in 2010/11 to £21,761 in 2013/14 - although the trust said that there had been no pay cuts for staff this year.

Now, it has emerged that current CEO Michael Scott, who was hired in 2014 to turn the struggling service around, is paid £175,000 - £35,000 more than his predecessor, Aidan Thomas, who received £140,600 a year.

And the figures, released in a Freedom of Information Request by the Campaign to Save NHS Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, revealed that almost £30,000 was spent on hiring Mr Scott, the former chief at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust.

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Although he only moved down the road from one top job to another, a total of £27,417 was spent on adverts and fees to recruit for the role.

Gary Page, chair of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: 'Michael Scott is hugely respected locally and nationally and his strong leadership, NHS experience, and impressive track record is just what our Trust needs. We required a strong Chief Executive of Michael's calibre and experience to lead the Trust and his salary reflects this.'

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He added: 'National NHS decisions, and not decisions made by the Trust, have meant most staff now have to pay more contributions to the pension scheme than previously and this can have the effect of reducing 'take-home' pay of those employees.'

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