NHS bosses given £180,000 in bonuses despite losing millions of pounds

Four NHS bosses who run a quango ‘losing millions of pounds’ were paid £180,000 in bonuses last year, analysis reveals

  • NHS Property Services forked out for bonuses despite a £40million deficit
  • The chief executive officer was given between £75,000 and £80,000
  • Directors were awarded the bonuses on top of their £130,000+ salaries
  • NHS England did not pay any bonuses because of the ‘economic climate’   

An NHS organisation last year paid four executives at least £180,000 in bonuses despite losing millions of pounds.

Executives working for public health departments in the UK were paid more than £500,000 in bonuses last year.

The biggest went to Elaine Hewitt, the chief executive of NHS Property Services, who received between £75,000 and £80,000 on top of her £220,000 salary.

Meanwhile the organisation, which is taxpayer-funded and responsible for selling disused NHS buildings and land, posted a loss of more than £40million for the year.

Other branches of the NHS, the Department of Health and Social Care, and Public Health England were also among the generous employers.

Senior managers at the loss-making NHS Property Services – which manages around £3billion worth of land and buildings – were paid at least £180,000 in bonuses last year

An analysis by the Health Service Journal has revealed the extent of bonuses paid to top dogs in the NHS and other healthcare agencies run by the Government.

The others to benefit handsomely from NHS Property Services were all executives earning a basic salary of more than £130,000.

Director of asset management, John Westwood, received £40-45,000; chief financial officer Julian Pearce was given £35-40,000; and chief operating officer Martin Steele received £30-35,000.

In the previous year Ms Hewitt, Mr Pearce and Mr Westwood were awarded £105,000 in bonuses between them.

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Property Services and NHS Professionals – which organises temporary staff – alone paid out £295,000 in bonuses last year.

NHS England, however, did not pay any bonuses because of ‘the current economic climate and the need to provide effective system leadership for the NHS’.

Other NHS organisations awarding bonuses to senior management were NHS Blood and Transplant, NHS Digital, NHS Resolution and Health Education England.


NHS trusts across England were £814million in deficit at the end of June 2018, a report revealed last year.

NHS Improvement said this was £22million better than planned at the beginning of the year, but £78million worse than the year ending June 2017.

The projected deficit for the end of 2018/19, which in September was £519 million, is ‘clearly unaffordable’, the report said.

A&E staff saw 5,602,531 patients in less than four hours between April and June, compared to 5,427,860 in the same period the year before, the report also showed.

However, 3,402 patients were waiting longer than 52 weeks for elective treatment in June, compared to 1,475 at the same time last year. 

They were joined by the Department of Health and Social Care and its subsidiaries, Community Health Partnerships, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Public Health England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

NHS Property Services told HSJ its bonuses were awarded based on staff hitting personal and company targets.

But it refused to say what directors had to do in order to qualify for the bonus.

In 2017-18 the company revealed it was operating with a £40.9million deficit – a rise of £5.5m from the previous year’s £35.4m shortfall.

NHS Property Services owns £3billion worth of NHS land and buildings – 10 per cent of the estate – but has lost money every year since it was formed in 2013.

In defence of its executives’ healthy bonuses a spokesperson told HSJ: ‘The scheme forms part of the NHS Property Services compensation strategy which is designed to align with similar schemes in operation in the commercial/property sector and market based competition.’

And NHS Professionals – which awarded £115,000 – said: ‘Having a competitive reward offering is one of the ways in which NHS Professionals can recruit and retain the very best people to achieve our ambitious performance targets.’

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