East Anglia: MP calls for ‘pay restraint’ as retiring ambulance boss given �1.2m pension fund

THE region’s ambulance trust must reflect the “culture of change” in public sector pay and award its next chief executive a more acceptable financial package, a Suffolk MP has said.

The comments come just days after it was announced that Hayden Newton, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, would be retiring early.

The EADT can today reveal that he will be taking with him a pension fund of more than �1.2million. He has an annual salary of around �140,000.

Mr Newton has been in the post for five years and in the past 12 months has been criticised for the trust’s performance and failure to meet response time targets in Suffolk.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said remuneration packages such as Mr Newton’s should be a thing of the past.

He said that following on from the appointment of new top officers at Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Hospital – both on significantly lower salaries than their predecessors – it was time for that culture of change to be reflected at the ambulance trust.

He said: “There has been a very big problem with this – even the Prime Minister made it clear when he came into power, with public sector management being paid often 15 to 20 times frontline workers and getting far, far more generous pensions, that’s something that is unacceptable.

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“With the new chief executive at Suffolk County Council, we are beginning to see some pay restraint and an understanding that it’s completely unacceptable for these people to be receiving very generous pay rises and having very generous pension settlements that frontline doctors and paramedics, in this case, can only ever dream of receiving.”

Dr Poulter said a lot of MPs from the region were not happy with the way the trust had been performing and the level of leadership.

He added: “Unfortunately we are in a position where we had an ambulance trust which wasn’t performing and in my view hasn’t prioritised its resources properly to support frontline paramedics.”

But East of England Ambulance Service spokesman Gary Sanderson said that under Mr Newton’s leadership the trust had consistently hit the targets that it was commissioned and funded to meet.

“During his time as chief executive, Hayden has moved the trust to a stable and sustainable organisation compared to six years ago,” he said.

“In this time paramedic numbers have increased significantly, the services the trust offers are more tailored to individual patients and there have been significant improvements to the quality of care provided to patients

“Hayden has paid into the NHS pension scheme for over 30 years, the same as everyone else in the NHS.

“The pension is paid out by the pensions agency in line with the agreed standard contractual arrangements for all employees.

“The salary of the post holder is set by the remuneration committee and this is currently under review.”