Seven test and trace executives paid more than health department’s top civil servant

Revelation comes amid ongoing row over NHS staff pay

Matt Mathers
Friday 30 July 2021 15:26
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Seven executives working on the NHS Test and Trace (NHSTT) programme were paid more than the Department of Health's (DHSC) most senior civil servant, it has been reported.

Each of the individuals took home salaries of at least £200,000 – £30,000 more than the DHSC permanent secretary Sir Chris Wormald, according to the Health Service Journal (HSJ).

NHSTT are the DHSC’s best paid employees and earn more than their superiors, the HSJ report said.

The revelations come amid an ongoing row in the NHS over staff pay, with nurses earlier this week confirming they will take strike action after declining the government’s pay rise of 3 per cent.

The Royal College of Nursing, the UK’s largest nursing union, said the offer was not enough, adding that failure to pay staff properly would lead to an “exodus of exhausted staff”.

Nurses want a pay rise of 12.5 per cent and will hold a series of demonstrations in several locations throughout the UK during the summer.

Senior NHS managers were denied a pay rise and the British Medical Association, the doctors' union, described the 3 per cent offer as “bitterly disappointing”.

Band 2 senior civil servants working on NHSTT are on average paid more than band 3 senior officials, the HSJ added.

The new Rosalind Franklin testing lab in Leamington Spa lab opened on 13 July with the ambition to carry out thousands of tests a week and employ 1,500 people.

But it has only employed 300 staff members since opening, the HSJ said.

And according to the Daily Telegraph, the site is operating at only 8 per cent of its planned capacity and may not reach full capacity until after Christmas.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “Since the outset of this global pandemic we have worked tirelessly with public and private sector partners to build an enormous national testing infrastructure from scratch.

“The Rosalind Franklin laboratory is being managed by world-leading scientists with decades of experience, and by building it in sections we are ramping up testing capacity while construction continues.”

The spokesperson added: “Once fully operational this laboratory will process hundreds of thousands of covid-19 samples every single day, as well as detecting and monitoring variants of concern using genotype assay testing and genome sequencing.”

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