Pension contributions of £140,000 for Cambridgeshire health chief Tracy Dowling outstrips her £135,000 a year salary

Tracy Dowling

Tracy Dowling - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire health bosses have seen their pension benefits outstrip their wages, while their organisation has been rated “inadequate” and been criticised for plans to close services.

Annual accounts of CCG show pay and pensions for senior officers

Annual accounts of CCG show pay and pensions for senior officers - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning (CCG) pay the NHS or private companies for health services patients in the area need. The CCG is trying to make savings of £52 million and is looking at closing the Minor Injuries Unit at Ely’s Princess of Wales Hospital, Doddington Hospital and North Cambs Hospital, Wisbech.

Pay for the CCG’s executive team has not increased since 2013 but two directors earned more last year in pension benefits than they were paid.

It bought the total remuneration in 2015/16 for the CCG’s chief operating officer Tracy Dowling to £275,000.

She was closely followed by Chief Strategy Officer Andy Vowles who earned £230,000 with pension benefits.

A spokesman for the CCG said: “The pension benefit figure does not reflect a cash payment but the notional increase to an individual’s pension pot.

“This number can fluctuate significantly if an individual receives a promotion, or changes role, in the financial reporting period. The proximity to retirement age also influences the change in pension benefit reported.”

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It means that while most NHS workers earned less in pension than pay, Tracey Dowling’s wage of £135,000 was slightly less than her pension benefits, while Andy Vowles’ pension benefits were £135,000 in 2015/16 compared to pay of £90,000.

The CCG said it used NHS benchmarks when setting pay.

“CCG running costs are also well within the amounts considered acceptable by regulators,” the spokesman added.

The CCG’s chief clinical officer Dr Neil Modha was paid £80,000 last year, while its director of quality Jill Houghton earned £95,000.

In July, regulators branded the CCG inadequate for leadership and finances.

The CCG has also been the subject of an inquiry by the National Audit Office into the collapse of an £800 million deal to provide care for older people and adult community services. The five-year contract with UnitingCare Partnership collapsed after just eight months when it ran into financial problems.