Plans were leaked recently showing that the top rated Salford Royal Hospital aims to axe 250 jobs a year until 2013 in an effort to chop £16million from its budget. At the same time, Hazel Blears' husband, Michael Halsall, will be earning over £13,000 a year as a `non executive director' of the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.
Halsall's day job is Litigation Manager at a local authority, and his speciality is cited on the Hospital's website as "looking at partnerships and new ways of working within the public sector". He is one of eight non executive directors of the Trust who between them were paid £125,000 in the year up to 31st March 2009, according to the Trust's last Annual Report. Half a dozen executive directors of the Trust were also paid £1,100,000 between them in the same year.
Halsall was appointed as non executive director in April 2007 and in the three years until 1st April 2010 was paid £12,941 per year. From April this year the Trust's non executive directors have been given a 2.25% pay increase, taking their part time fees well beyond £13,000, more than many Salford people earn in a year. Current non executive directors also include former Salford City Council Chief Executive John Willis, and Anne Williams, former Salford City Council head of Communities and Social Services
Halsall's three year appointment with the Trust was due to expire at the end of March this year but he has been re-appointed for a further three years. During his total time as a non executive director he will earn around £78,000.
The Hospital Trust's Annual Report shows that in the year ending 31st March 2009 Halsall attended a total of 19 board and committee meetings, which works out at almost £700 per meeting.
Back in September 2009, at a Council of Governors and Board meeting (to which Michael Halsall sent his apologies for not attending), the Hospital Trust's Director of Finance told of "the end of the 'growth' period and the requirement of the NHS to reduce costs…and what this could mean in real terms for Salford Royal".
These `real terms' were spelt out in detail via a leaked letter to the Manchester Evening News, and included 10% cuts in primary, community, acute and mental health sectors by 2013, and 15% cuts in acute and in-patient mental health care by 2013.
Meanwhile, the number of beds open overnight at the Salford Royal Foundation Trust Hospital fell from 833 in 1997 to 808 in 2009 - according to information provided by the Government in response to a question last month from Salford MP Hazel Blears…
See update 22nd April 2010 here