Clinicians top pay group

Pay for the Otago District Health Board's chief executive Brian Rousseau last financial year increased by about $60,000 to between $430,000 and $440,000.

From October, however, a third of his salary has been paid by the Southland board, as Mr Rousseau has also been acting as its chief executive since then.

Figures presented by the board in answers to the parliamentary health select committee show Mr Rousseau is its highest-paid employee, but most of its highly paid staff are clinicians.

They also show the number of board staff earning more than $100,000 jumped by 80 last financial year to 264 (the increase from 2005-06 to 2006-07 was 16).

All but four of this increase were also clinicians.

Mr Rousseau is the only one of the board's 3072 employees paid in the $430,000 to $440,000 bracket.

In the previous financial year, before the position of Southland board chief executive was added to his duties, his salary was between $370,000 and $380,000.

It seems both boards would like him appointed permanently as the dual chief executive, but all matters relating to this are not yet settled.

There has been no other chief executive appointment involving two district health boards and the situation is being watched with interest by boards in other areas where closer ties between boards was potentially desirable.

Salary costs are shared between the two boards for a variety of positions, including those in its regional executive management structure and some in planning and funding, accounting, computing, human relations, primary care and procurement.

There are also two regional clinical services, Southern Blood and Cancer and cardiac surgery.

After Mr Rousseau, the next highest paid employee is a clinician on between $330,000 and $340,000, while the next highest salary for an administrative employee is between $260,000 and $270,000.

The other 13 management staff in the over-$100,000 group are paid $160,000 or less, with almost half of them on $130,000 to $140,000.

Management staff in the $100,000 plus brackets totalled 15, up four from the previous year.

Management restructuring, however, meant that only two of them received more than $160,000, compared with seven in the previous financial year.

In the $100,000 and above brackets, there are 249 clinical staff.

Some clinicians will also be earning extra money in private practice.

Last financial year, the board paid $190,000 for "at-risk" payments.

The budget for such payments for its top management team this financial year is $285,000.

Board chairman Richard Thomson said, while it "doesn't wash with the general public", it was unfair to describe the payments as performance bonuses.

They were salary increases which would not be paid if set goals were not met.

Other staff received negotiated pay rises without having to meet specific goals.

The health select committee responses show last year the "at-risk" payments were paid to 11 members of management.

One payment was between $40,000 and $49,999, but most were between $10,000 and $19,999.

The board will not reveal who the top payment went to.

This financial year, 12 members of the senior executive team have had at-risk components of their contracts withheld, subject to them meeting agreed performance objectives.

Mr Thomson said in earlier years only the chief executive's salary increases had been subject to at-risk provisions, but about 18 months ago, when senior executive salaries were reviewed, it was decided to extend that.

That review also showed that the board had been " pretty parsimonious" when what was being paid for similar positions around the country was taken into account.

It was decided the way to address that was to make extra pay available, but on an "at-risk" basis.

Mr Thomson said the board's salary figures reflected the growth in the number of clinicians and their salaries.

Management and administration staffing costs were declining as a proportion of staff spending, while spending on clinicians was increasing.

The board employed 733 non-clinical staff last year compared with 2339 clinical staff.

ODHB salaries

2007-08 financial year

Top salary: Chief executive ($430,000-$440,000)

Top clinician salary ($330,000-$340,000)

5 clinical staff (0 non-clinical) ($300,000-$340,000)

55 clinical (2 non-clinical) ($200,000+)

1 management ($260,000-$270,000)

2 management $160,000+


Other 13 management ($100,000-$160,000)

249 clinicians ($100,000+)

Of 733 non-clinical staff, the most in any wage bracket is 265 ($30,000-$40,000)

Of 2339 clinical staff, most in any wage bracket is 424 ($60,000-$70,000)

Board personnel costs totalled about $177 million

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