NHS advertises £174k job as children’s ward closes
NHS Lothian has started its search for a new £174,000-a-year chief executive – just as the children’s ward at St John’s Hospital in Livingston shut for three weeks.
The health board has said they closed the ward on the grounds of patient safety, as fewer cover staff are available during the summer.
But it also began the hunt the fill the lucrative permanent chief executive position, which will see the successful candidate paid between £127,552 and £173,840 – potentially more than the Prime Minister or First Minister.
Matthew Sinclair, director of the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “Many public bodies have used taking on a new boss as a chance to reduce pay at the top and save taxpayers’ money. It is disappointing that NHS Lothian has not done the same. And it will certainly have to deliver a much better standard than the dismal service too many patients of the board have experienced recently to justify this kind of remuneration. It is hard to plead poverty when closing a children’s ward, only to then pay the new chief executive so much.”
NHS bosses have insisted the closure at St John’s has nothing to do with money.
While it is understood that a full staff rota is in place, they believe that the lack of cover staff during July could have left the ward vulnerable and could force it to close at short notice in the event of an unexpected absence.
Children who need out-of-hours care will instead be transferred to Edinburgh, while an assessment centre, open between 8am and 8pm on weekdays, will operate at St John’s.
The decision to close the ward has proved controversial, with consultants, West Lothian Council and MSPs speaking out against the move.
There will be no change to maternity and neonatal services at the hospital.
The children’s ward will resume full service on July 30.
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