Hospices rely on volunteers while paying their bosses up to £160,000

Hospices are not strictly in the different Regional Health Services. They are usually charities, and they are stronger in cities, where populations are high, and where rich people live. The cradle to grave Health Service is not reality for many of us.

Billy Kenber and Alexi Mostrous in The Times 11th September 2015 report: Hospices rely on volunteers while paying their bosses up to £160,000  as if this is automatically wrong.

Yes, the fundraisers for these charities should know what is spent on the staff and administration, and how much is raised annually, but running a hospice can be a stressful and demanding role, with much time “on call”. In addition the staff, usually from the Health Services, are excluded from Health Service pensions. So need to contribute to their own pension …. all this does not mean they are paid too much/little. It’s just that the figures should all be on their websites, along with their accounts.

Charities that rely on hundreds of volunteers to provide end-of-life care are paying staff up to £160,000 a year.

An investigation by The Times has found that 240 hospice bosses and senior consultants are earning more than £60,000 a year, with at least 25 earning six-figure sums.

Medical charities have come under pressure recently over executives’ large salaries. Nine senior staff at Cancer Research UK earn more than £150,000 and Marie Stopes International, a sexual health charity, paid Simon Cooke, its chief executive, up to £380,000 last year.

Hospices of comparable size have huge discrepancies in the salaries they pay. Only a third of about 250 hospices in England and Wales pay any employee more than £60,000 a year but those that do spend up to 7p in every £1 of income on these high-earning staff.

MPs and campaigners said that they were horrified by the amount going to senior staff. The figures are likely to fuel a growing debate about excess in the charity sector. Hospices, which typically run inpatient units as well as employing staff to visit the homes of terminally ill patients, are funded by millions of pounds of donations, in some cases topped up by NHS grants.

Andrew Bridgen, the Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire and a patron of Hospice Help, said: “The vast majority [of hospice workers] are made up of volunteers giving their time for absolutely nothing. [Large salaries] would sit uneasily with the volunteers. I think they’d be horrified.”

Mr Bridgen called for charities to disclose the proportion of money spent on administrative costs. “That would enable people to make an informed choice when they give to a charity,” he said.

Roger Goss, the co-director of Patient Concern, said: “Many people will be shocked, when they thought this sort of organisation was driven by altruism and a desire to help people rather than create highly paid jobs.”

An analysis of the financial accounts for about 250 hospices in England and Wales for 2013-14, the most recent year available, found that at least 82 paid at least one member of staff more than £60,000 a year.

Hospices with the highest proportion of funds paid to management and senior medical staff include St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds, which had a bill of between £630,000 and £700,000 for seven staff earning more than £60,000 a year. Kerry Jackson, the hospice’s chief executive, said the amount paid to those top staff was competitive.

The Myton Hospices in Warwickshire paid eight people more than £60,000, almost 6.6 per cent of its income. Thames Hospice, in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, paid four staff a total of £290,000 to £330,000 against income of £5.4 million.

Myton Hospices said it was important to “attract the highest calibre of clinical and non-clinical managers”.

Thames Hospice said salaries were benchmarked against services of a similar size and demographic.

Charities must disclose the salaries of those earning more than £60,000 a year, in pay bands of £10,000.

Asheem Singh, director of policy at the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, called on charities to justify paying staff high wages or risk losing the public’s trust.

He said: “We would recommend that charity boards and trustees are transparent. Ultimately if they don’t do that they will lose trust.”

Big bills

St Gemma’s, Leeds

Total income £9.7 million

Total management bill in 2013-14 (those earning £60,000+) £630,000 to £700,000

Highest salary £130,000 to £140,000

Myton hospices, Warwickshire

Income £10.6 million

Management bill £640,000 to £700,000

Highest salary £100,000 to £110,000

Thames Hospice, Windsor

Income £5.4 million

Management bill £290,000-£330,000

Highest salary £80,000-£90,000

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Post Code Lottery, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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