A health boss whose staff are facing drastic changes to pay and conditions has come under fire for “showing complete disharmony” with colleagues after being accused of “gloating” about his new boat on the internet.
Shaun Clee, chief executive of 2gether NHS Foundation Trust in Gloucester, took to micro-blogging site Twitter to inform his "followers" of the purchase, made during a recent trip to St Austell in Cornwall.
Writing on his personal Twitter page on July 15, he wrote: "Round trip to St Austell. Sea trial resulted in new boat - oops!"
Prompted by one of his followers to explain whether that meant he had bought a new boat, the health boss replied: "I am afraid I have to plead guilty."
He added that the purchase - thought to cost between £10,000 and £15,000 - wasn't "as elegant" as a sailing boat, describing it as "a fast day boat for inshore or river fishing".
Mr Clee, who has more than 30 years' experience in the NHS, later uploaded a picture of a boat to his Twitter page.
The personal spend comes at a time when the Gloucester health body is one of nearly two dozen trusts in the South West to have joined a so-called "pay cartel" to try to cut the pay and conditions of each trust's staff, by breaking away from the national agreement which covers NHS staff.
Workers could be made redundant and forced to sign new terms of employment if they fail to agree to the proposals.
Helen Hancox, regional officer for the Royal College of Nursing South West, said Mr Clee was allowed to spend his income as he wished, but described his decision to post details of the purchase on Twitter as "unpalatable".
She added: "He's obviously got the disposable income to go off and buy a boat, yet many staff - who have not had a pay rise in two years - are struggling to pay their rent.
"I think it was ill-advised and disrespectful. It almost seems like he is gloating about the boat, and shows complete disharmony with the majority of staff who are fighting cuts to pay and conditions."
In a statement, the trust described the timing of its chief executive's comments as "regrettable".
It added: "We appreciate staff have ongoing concerns around our membership of the pay consortium.
"There are no formal proposals for us to consider and we are committed to continuing our work with our staff side representatives to discuss any issues we may want to consider."