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Bury St Edmunds: Number of consultants soars at West Suffolk Hospital

12:49 10 February 2014

Patients at West Suffolk Hospital are in good hands as new figures showed the number of consultants working at the hospital has risen by almost a third in recent years.

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The hospital now employs the equivalent of 141 full-time consultants – an increase from the 107 employed at the start of 2009, according to figures obtained by this newspaper.

Consultants are highly qualified specialists in their field, and can range from expert diagnostic staff and surgeons through to lab technicians.

Jan Bloomfield, executive director of workforce at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “We have invested significantly in our consultant 
workforce over recent years, and are delighted to have attracted permanent staff to several key roles across the hospital, including our cardiology and emergency departments.

“As well as ensuring our patients receive high quality, consistent care, this has also helped reduce the amount we spend on locums to cover vacant posts.”

The hospital’s total bill for consultant salaries may have also gone up over the same period, from £16.1million to £19.2m, but this is a comparatively smaller increase of only 19.2%, and reduces the hospital’s spending on more costly temporary staff.

Figures from the last complete financial show the average annual salary for consultants based at West Suffolk for at least a year was £106,815 – slightly below the national average of £109,651 stated by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Of the 131 consultants for which figures were available, 78 earned more than £100,000 in the 2012/13 financial year.

The hospital’s top-earning consultant took home £193,321 that year, with a further two earning more than £175,000. A total of 17 consultants at the hospital had pay packets totalling more than £150,000.

The HSCIC shows that 62% of consultants nationally earn £100,000 or more, with 13% earning more than £150,000. The figures for West Suffolk are 60% and 13% respectively.

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