Doctors' group criticises size of DHB chief executives' pay cheques
As junior doctors prepare for a second strike over pay and conditions, a union is taking aim at salary increases given to district health board bosses.
The State Services Commission recently released its Senior Pay Report, outlining chief executive remuneration bands in the public sector for the 2015-16 financial year.
It shows the average remuneration – which includes base salary, performance-related payments and superannuation contributions – rose by 1.3 per cent.
However, the average percentage increase for district health board (DHB) bosses was 2.6 per cent on the previous financial year.
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The rise has angered the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, ahead of the looming junior doctors' strike.
"If chief executives cannot see the hypocrisy of this outcome, and the hypocrisy of them being so sanctimonious in collective agreement negotiations, then they probably don't deserve to be a chief executive," executive director Ian Powell said.
The 73-hour strike is due to be begin next Tuesday, with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman previously claiming that meeting doctors' demands would cost $60 million and require 160 extra doctors.
"Certainly, it's not helpful in a collective agreement negotiation to have the chief executives say 'you cost too much, we can't afford any reasonable increases' but at the same time getting a good increase themselves," Powell said.
"They get very sanctimonious about salary and wage costs, yet they expect their staff to have a lower level of increase than they do.
"It's a double standard that tarnishes the reputation of chief executives in the eyes of the workforce, and really just is hypocritical."
Waitemata DHB boss Dale Bramley's remuneration went up by about 5.2 per cent to a band between $590,000 and $599,999. The package which "included a component relating to a job resizing".
Other bosses to receive increases included those from Bay of Plenty, Canterbury/West Coast, Counties-Manukau, Hawke's Bay, Lakes, South Canterbury, Tairawhiti and Whanganui DHBs.
Wellington's Capital & Coast DHB chief executive Debbie Chin's remuneration remained largely stagnant, at between $510,000 and $519,999 in the year to June 2016.
She banked the seventh-biggest salary of the country's DHB chiefs. Board chairman Andrew Blair said: "Capital & Coast is the sixth-largest of New Zealand's 20 district health boards, and chief executive Debbie Chin's remuneration package reflects this."
Ashley Bloomfield, tasked with leading Hutt Valley DHB, received remuneration of between $290,000 to $299,999 for the nine months from when he was appointed in October 2015 to June 2016. His predecessor, Graham Dyer, received between $420,000 and $429,999 as Hutt Valley and Wairarapa chief executive.
Chief executives' remuneration is set by their boards after consultation with the state services commissioner.
While the chiefs had no input into any increases they received, Powell believed they could refuse them to ensure they remained in step with their colleagues.
"Chief executives need to have a mindset change, and they've got to accept that if they're willing to accept this level of an increase, then they should treat their own workforce the same way.
"If they're not prepared to be consistent, they should decline the increases ... and should be simply be prepared to accept what they give their lower level staff."