Yes, Hazel Blears' husband was appointed as non executive director of the Salford Royal Foundation Trust in April 2007 and in the three years until 1st April 2010 was paid £12,941 per year. Earlier this year, Mike got a another three year term, just as the Trust's non executive directors were given a 2.25% pay increase, taking their part time fees well beyond £13,000, more than many Salford people earn in a year.
Add it all up over six years and you're looking at Mike picking up almost £80,000 in fees. Not bad for someone who also has a day job as `Head of Legal for a Metropolitan Borough Council'.
In the year 2009-10 Mike attended 21 meetings at the hospital, which works out at well over £600 per meeting. Meanwhile public governors, drawn from the community, appear to get nothing for attending meetings and sharing their expertise.
As a non-exec director of Salford Royal, Mike will no doubt be helping to implement what hospital bosses are calling the `Salford Way' to reduce costs by £48million, or 15%, over the next three years.
One of the ways in which the hospital will "safely reduce costs" is to reduce "staff costs", or 750 jobs according to one leaked memo – which might just affect Salford Royal's proud record of achieving an `Excellent' rating for the quality of its services four years in a row. As part of the "significant financial challenge to the NHS", one of the hospital's priorities, as stated in its annual report for 2009/10, is to "Create the right culture with agreed shared aims and shared values".
As long as the non-execs – who also include former Salford City Council Chief Executive John Willis, and Anne Williams, former Salford City Council head of Communities and Social Services - are picking up over £13,000 a year we're sure that Salford Royal's staff will happily share the cuts culture.
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 earlier this year from Michael Halsall's wife and Salford MP Hazel Blears.
Ladies and Gentlemen. THE SALFORD ROYAL HOSPITAL SMOOTH OPERATOR AWARD goes to…
See the original Salford Star feature here
SALFORD STAR MARY BURNS AWARDS
Day 1: The Dirty Old Man Award For Dodgy Girl Depiction (click here)
Day 2: The George Bush `Read My Lips' Award (click here)
Day 3: The Arrogant Riders of the White Elephant Award (click here)
Day 4: The Hang The Fat Cats Award (click here)
Day 5: The `Let's Give Ourselves Awards' Award (click here)
Lots more to follow...