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Suffolk/Essex: East of England Ambulance Trust criticised for offering more pay to executive PA than frontline paramedics

PUBLISHED: 10:22 22 October 2012

The East of England Ambulance Trust has come under fire for offering to pay an executive PA more than frontline paramedics

The East of England Ambulance Trust has come under fire for offering to pay an executive PA more than frontline paramedics

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2008

A BACK-office administrative job at the region’s ambulance service is being advertised at a higher pay band than front-line paramedics who save lives every day.

The executive PA position has sparked outrage amongst paramedics – who have had their pay frozen for three years – and was last night criticised by a Health Minister.

The role is being advertised by the East of England Ambulance Trust with a Band 6 salary of up to £30,000. This is compared to most paramedics, who take home between £21,000 to £27,000 in Band 5.

A paramedic, who asked not to be named, said the job advert had been met with “genuine surprise” by colleagues.

He said: “It is unbelievable the amount they can pay someone who takes a few notes and books a few train tickets compared to people who actually save lives and have gone without a pay rise for more than three years.”

It was announced at the beginning of the month that Hayden Newton, the longest- serving chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Trust, is stepping down.

MP and recently-appointed Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter, who branded the salary difference “unacceptable”, is hopeful the change in leadership will address pay structures.

The MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich said: “There has been a long-standing culture of prioritisation of resources by the previous chief executive.

“The trust has put too much money into back-office services and it is rewarding management and administration roles to the expense of investing in front-line staff.

“We now have an opportunity to draw a line under mistakes and introduce constructive ways to ensure we properly recognise and deliver the pay that paramedics deserve.

“It is clearly unacceptable that paramedics who work hard to save lives receive less than this secretarial role.”

A spokesperson for the trust said the advertised job carried certain responsibilities which were reflected in the salary.

She said: “The executive PA role is not a straightforward PA post, as the holder will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the executive administrator and provide a high level of expertise and office management with minimum supervision as sole support to the chair and chief executive to ensure they are effective in their roles.

“They will work closely with the chief executive in the planning and delivery of work and, as such, the salary is commensurate with the high level of expertise and responsibility related to the role.

“It is part of a wider reorganisation to make further back-office savings of £79,000 a year, extra to the £7million already made.”

The spokesperson added that front-line staff received an extra 25% for unsocial hours on top of the salaries quoted in the pay bands.

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