HIGH ROLLERS WHO MILK THE NHS
THEY holiday in the West Indies, live in mansions and keep jet-skis as toys. For while they work at failing hospitals, these interim bosses have made themselves very wealthy. Here we reveal the lifestyles of some of the bosses who demand bumper pay packages at NHS trusts.
Boss who retired with £700k – to go freelance
NHS chief Peter Reading has made millions from failing hospitals and is apparently enjoying the benefits of his £2,100-a-day career. In 2007, the jet-setting boss took early retirement aged 51, along with a £700,000 pay-off from University Hospitals of Leicester Trust.
Since then he’s enjoyed a lucrative career travelling around the country being paid taxpayers’ money as an interim chief executive for NHS trusts in crisis.
Last year, in his latest position, he earned £405,000 while working only four days a week. This generous contract, at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, also allowed him to claim £50 a day in expenses.
So on top of his salary, he took more than £10,000 in expenses – mostly for driving to and from work.
Mr Reading’s wages – which were channelled through his private companies – are equivalent to a staggering 50 per cent pay rise compared to the man he replaced when he commenced the role in February 2012.
Mr Reading was supposedly brought in to sort out the trust’s finances after it recorded a deficit of £45.8million. But last April, two months before he left the role in June, the trust still had an annual deficit of £ 37.8million and was described by NHS regulator Monitor as ‘not financially sustainable’.
A competitive tendering process to manage services at its two hospitals is due to begin shortly.
Mr Reading, who enjoys regular family holidays to exotic locations such as Antigua, where he can be seen posing on a beach, as well as Thailand and Majorca, has also enjoyed a number of other lucrative interim posts. He previously spent 18 months as chief executive of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, from April 2010 to October 2011.
The privately educated father-oftwo was paid £230,000 for his first 12 months in that post, and the trust also paid £40,000 to an agency.
The 58-year-old Cambridge graduate now works as an associate director at Pricewater-house-Coopers – a firm which has been accused of helping firms avoid tax.
Rob Hughes, chairman of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said there had been ‘no obligation on the trust’ to pay tax on behalf of Mr Reading.
He said Mr Reading was appointed ‘at a time of particular turbulence for the trust’ and hiring him was ‘not our preferred solution’.
‘It was clear that we needed a high calibre individual to successfully steer the trust through some extremely challenging times, and Dr Reading did that,’ he said.
Tellingly, he said Mr Reading’s stand- out achievement was not protecting patients or saving money but dealing with the pressures of outside scrutiny.
‘Most notably, Dr Reading led the trust through the highest level of political scrutiny following a National Audit Office report and an appearance before the Public Accounts Committee in November 2012,’ Mr Hughes said.
He added: ‘While Dr Reading worked an average of four days a week for the trust, the hours he worked were in excess of what would be considered regular working hours. His salary reflected the market rate for such expertise. When his contract ended, the trust was in a much better situation.
‘The payments for Dr Reading’s services did not include any obligation on the trust to make payment for national insurance, pension, holiday pay, nor sick pay and no such payments were made.
‘Dr Reading made both employer’s and employee’s National Insurance contributions and paid income tax through PAYE.’
Last night Mr Reading said: ‘I was employed through my company but I was paying on PAYE, which is fully compliant. As a result of that, my company paid employers’ National Insurance and employees’ National Insurance as well as full PAYE income tax. This works out as equivalent to me paying tax at 60 per cent.
‘Everything I have done has been totally legal and completely within the regulations.
‘I’m one of the most experienced chief executives in the NHS and they needed somebody of my experience at the helm of a hospital which was in difficulty.’
£25,000 for two and a half months’ work
A HOSPITAL boss earned £25,000 for two and a half months’ work – and went on two luxury holidays to Spain and California during that time.
Krystyna Ruszkiewicz claimed the payment for filling in as the head of human resources at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foun- dation Trust as a freelance director in the summer of 2013.
But she did only 24 days’ work during her lucrative stint
And the self-proclaimed ‘yoga obsessive’ – who has done expensive stints at 12 NHS trusts in the past decade – managed to fit in at least two holidays and boasted online about indulging in luxury spa treatments.
Miss Ruszkiewicz, who writes online about how going to spas is ‘another tough day at the office’, started her job in Bath on July 15, 2013.
Just 12 days later she was away in the Costa del Sol, according to her Facebook page. ‘On holiday,’ she wrote from Competa, a picturesque village in southern Spain. ‘Got the most fabulous villa.’ Five days later she posted another update from Competa. ‘In Spain, with lovely friends,’ she wrote.
This was followed by messages on the following two days, with pictures by a real estate poster in Competa and then in Cordoba.
Only 11 days later Miss Ruszkiewicz, 53, updated friends on her indulgent summer travels – from a nail salon in California.
‘Recovering with a mani pedi,’ she boasted after a day in the Redwood national park.
The hospital boss, who has two daughters and lives in a £1.25million four-bedroom house in West London also went to the Indian Springs Resort and Spa in Napa Valley. The luxury hotel, where rooms for a night cost between $359 (£239) and $999 (£665), specialises in mud bath treatments, with a spa powered by volcanic thermal geysers.
‘Lovely,’ she wrote online, ‘ Just about to take the plunge. Little apprehensive. Imagine its [sic] a bit squelchy.’
Her posting in Bath – for which she was paid £25,920 – finished on September 26, just over a month later. She says her holidays were not charged to the trust.
During her time in the city the extravagances continued. Miss Ruszkiewicz was staying at The Queensbury Hotel, where rooms cost between £175 and £485 a night and a tasting menu at the restaurant costs £70 a head.
On September 11, 2013, she posted a picture of a ‘very posh’ Eton mess from the hotel restaurant.
After the final day of her posting, she thanked friends for ‘ a lovely evening’, adding: ‘Those glasses of wine were very large indeed...’
Miss Ruszkiewicz, whose family is Polish but who was born in Hendon,
‘I’m not ashamed ... I pay loads of bloody tax’
‘I started in banking ... I have been fortunate’
North West London, is paid through her private company SPACE-4 Consulting, even though NHS trusts are supposed to issue off-payroll payments only in ‘exceptional’ situations. Miss Ruszkiewicz owns the company entirely.
Being paid through a personal service company allows people to avoid paying income tax at source in the usual way.
Miss Ruszkiewicz was paid £25,920, including VAT, while at Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust – the equivalent of £1,080 per day. The trust confirmed she worked for just 24 days during the two and a half months she was their interim human resources boss. This is fewer than half of the 53 working days during this period.
The trust did not take on PAYE responsibilities for her or pay national insurance on her pay. A spokesman added: ‘The appointment was a fixedterm contract for services, made to ensure continuity of service. The contract was spread across a period of over two months.
‘This contract for services was classed as an “exceptional temporary circumstance”, as it was of an urgent nature and necessary in order to provide continuity between the two substantive post-holders.’
Miss Ruszkiewicz said last night: ‘My time was charged at an agreed day rate plus VAT. I took pre-booked holiday during that period. My holiday time was not charged to the trust but was taken on my own time. I did not take any leave from the trust. I claimed no expenses or allowances from the trust.’
She said she stayed with a friend in California. She added: ‘Where an individual is provided to an organisation through a company, the individual pays income tax on payments to the individual and any monies retained in the company are subject to corporation tax.
‘I am not aware of any suggestion of impropriety made against me by the trust or anyone else.’
Miss Ruszkiewicz continued: ‘I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. I wasn’t an employee, those were not paid holidays. They were days I wasn’t working in Bath. [SPACE-4 Consulting] pay 20 per cent corporation tax and then I pay full rate on my drawings. I pay loads of bloody tax.’
She said her visit to the Aveda Covent Garden spa in September would have been for a haircut. ‘All I can say is, yes I go to the hairdressers. And, yes, if I go to the hair- dressers with a friend and either she or I make a flippant comment about a hard day at the office, what’s that got to do with where I work?’
Texan millionaire on £2,328 a day
AN American millionaire flown to the UK and paid £50,000 a month to be temporary boss of Rotherham NHS Trust had a sprawling home in Texas.
Michael Morgan was hired for £475,000 for only nine and a half months’ work as interim CEO. This sum would cover the salaries of at least 20 nurses.
With an annual equivalent pay package of £621,000, he is believed to be the highest paid manager to have worked for the NHS last year.
Mr Morgan – who recently sold his Texas mansion for nearly $2million (£1,338,000) – began work on February 4, 2013, just before Rotherham recorded a deficit of £6.5million.
He was brought in ‘to address the very serious financial and managerial issues occurring at the trust at that time’.
But while he was in the UK, Rotherham paid £ 7,000 a month to cover the expenses of Mr Morgan and two colleagues who were paid through a consultancy, coming to a total of £84,000 a year.
Mr Morgan was paid through a third party, Bolt Partners, a ‘healthcare advisory firm’.
And it is clear from his Texan home that he is making the most of his lucrative career travelling across America and the UK as an interim hospital boss – or, as he describes himself online, ‘a seasoned hospital chief executive’.
His huge family mansion has views over picturesque Lake Conroe, with its own jetty, two jet-skis and a boat lift. It also has an infinity pool with a Jacuzzi and fountains.
The five-bedroom home has sprawling manicured gardens. Photographs from inside show an extravagant spiral staircase, marble floors, chandeliers, grand oak furnishings and antiques throughout.
There are sunbathing terraces with palm trees and a games room with a huge television and pool table, under a sign that reads ‘Morgan Street’.
The website advertising the property reads: ‘Step outside and you’ll be captivated by a resort style oasis, one of the very few of its kind.’
A spokesman for Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said Mr Morgan was employed by Bolt and worked for the NHS as part of a contract the trust took out with Bolt.
‘He was not a paid employee of the trust nor was he paid in a consultancy capacity by the trust,’ the spokesman added.
‘Mr Morgan was employed by Bolt and paid by Bolt. The trust would not have liability for his tax arrangements. The trust is no longer in contact with Mr Morgan.’ Tim Bolt, managing partner of Bolt Partners LLP, said: ‘Rotherham NHS Trust hired Bolt Partners to provide an experienced and highly qualified turnaround team to address the very serious financial and managerial issues occurring at the trust at that time. Bolt’s team consisted of five senior Bolt employees, one of whom, Michael Morgan, was appointed interim CEO. All relevant taxes were paid.
‘The team from Bolt Partners, led by Michael, increased front-line staff and, during the first financial year, reduced the trust’s deficit by £3.4million – over three times the value of its contract.’
Mentor cost £40k for two months
GUITAR and travel fanatic Chris Hurst was in banking before he became a freelance hospital boss.
Last year he cost £40,000 for two months’ work at an NHS trust which declared losses of £16.4million.
This was after leaving his job as finance director for the Labour-run NHS in Wales, which is now in crisis.
The interim finance director, 60, lives with his 46-year- old girlfriend in a £1million house in Witney, Oxfordshire.
He describes himself online as an ‘executive mentor’ and freelances between hospitals while not away on travels across the world.
He owns his own firm, Dorian3d, but was paid for his time at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust off payroll through a different third- party consultancy, which he does not own.
In 2013/14, when Mr Hurst was at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, it declared a deficit of £16.4million, despite delivering a surplus of £461,000 and £122,000 for the two previous years.
This year the trust’s projected deficit is £19.1million.
He writes online: ‘I started my career in banking, qualified as an accountant while working in local government. I joined the NHS as a trust finance director in 1992.
‘I have a particular interest in healthcare management and I have been fortunate enough to visit health organisations in the USA, Australia, South
Africa, Libya and Sweden.’ Pictures he posts online of his travels include shots of him stroking a cheetah in South Africa. ‘I have a lifelong passion for music, play the guitar (badly) and enjoy photography,’ he adds.
The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust said: ‘Mr Hurst was paid the market rate at the time for a two-month long, highlevel position which needed to be urgently filled and which required an individual with in-depth specialist knowledge and expertise.
‘The immediate need to fill this position met the criteria of “exceptional temporary circumstances”.’
Finance expert whose fees keep going up
HE is the finance expert put in charge of sorting out hospitals’ spiralling deficits – all while paying himself one of highest figures within the NHS.
Ian Miller, 49, became finance director at Maidstone and Tun- bridge Wells NHS Trust in November 2013 and was paid an astonishing £251,000 for only five months’ work. This equates to around £600,000 a year.
It is understood Mr Miller’s monthly pay is one of the highest in the NHS nationally.
The funds were paid to third party, The Maxentius Partnership, his own consultancy business.
Mr Miller, whose fees have risen massively in the past few years as NHS spending has stalled, says he has never avoided paying tax.
In 2013, the year he was brought in to help sort out the trust’s ‘deteriorating financial position’, the trust broke even with efficiency savings of £17.5million.
But when he left in April 2014 the trust reported a £12.4million deficit.
The trust said his ‘independent financial expertise was essential’ in helping it achieve £18million efficiency savings in 2013/14 with no impact on patient care.
Mr Miller lives with his second wife Lucy in Ealing, West London, in an area where the average property price is in excess of £1.7million.
In the 2009/10 financial year he was the highest-paid NHS manager in the England. At the time, he earned £ 310,000 for nine months’ work for the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority.
A spokesman for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said it ‘paid Maxentius £209,300 plus VAT in 2013/14 to provide specialist financial support that was not available within the trust at that time. This included the secondment of Ian Miller to the trust as interim director of finance’.
He added: ‘The company provided independent financial expertise that helped the trust achieve £18million in efficiency savings during 2013/ 14. This brought the trust’s potential deficit down from £30million to £12.4million for that year.
‘Mr Miller was paid via Maxentius’s payroll, with full tax paid. Mr Miller received no taxable expense payments or other benefits in kind from the trust during this period.’
Mr Miller said: ‘All these fees were paid to me via the Maxentius payroll, ie with the employer’s/ employee National Insurance contribution and income tax deducted.’ He said he paid the top rate of income tax at 45 per cent, plus employer’s National Insurance at 13.8 per cent and employee’s National Insurance at 12 per cent.
Wine-lover with 13 NHS jobs in seven years
Sandy Spencer, who has been pictured posing in a fascinator and drinking wine on holiday, appears to live the life of a socialite. In fact, she has made her wealth by merry-gorounding as a freelance NHS boss.
Mrs Spencer, 58, has had an incredible 13 NHS interim director jobs in the past seven years.
She started as a nurse before working as an operations director. She moved between full-time positions in Bristol, Hampshire, West Sussex, Kingston, Essex and Sidcup before going freelance in 2008.
From then, she has travelled the country as a chief operating officer and chief executive for hospitals in need of short-term cover.
She is paid off-payroll and has a personal service company Spencers Associates Limited, which she owns completely. The trusts she worked for would not say if this was the agency they paid for her services.
Since 2012 – when the Treasury told trusts not to pay off-payroll unless in extreme circumstances and never for more than half a year – Mrs Spencer has worked in each job for a maximum of six months.
Last year she earned £145,000 for five months as the interim chief operating officer of Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The trust said that because she was hired through an agency it has no access to her contract and ‘cannot comment’ on the tax rates involved in her employment.
From December to March this year she was interim chief operating officer for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust – which is in special measures amid concerns over cancer waiting times. The trust last year declared a deficit of £2.3million. It anticipates the losses this year to be £22million. A spokesman would not reveal her salary ahead of publication of its annual report.
Mrs Spencer lives with her two adult children in a £1.2million luxury flat on the Thames in Wandsworth, South-West London.
Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘We are always mindful that we are spending public sector money.’ A spokesman added that the trust had followed Treasury rules.
Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘The trust requires all appointees to interim board level positions to provide satisfactory assurances on the administration of their tax affairs.’