Diane Abbott understated pay of NHS England boss

3 July 2023
What was claimed

The NHS England chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, earns £86,000.

Our verdict

Incorrect. Amanda Pritchard’s pay in 2021/22 was £255,000-260,000.

Dreadful BBC interview with CEO of the NHS Amanda Pritchard. She herself earns £86,000 but refuses to support decent wages for doctors and nurses.

The independent MP Diane Abbott tweeted on Sunday 2 July that the NHS England chief executive earns £86,000.

Assuming Ms Abbott was talking about an annual salary or annual earnings, this is not correct. The real figure is much higher.

The most recent NHS England accounts show that the chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, earned £255,000-260,000 in 2021/22, having moved from the job of chief operating officer on 1 August, with additional pension-related benefits of about £74,000.

Some Twitter users also made this point in an attached community note.

For context, Ms Pritchard’s earnings are much higher than the average pay for doctors or nurses, and roughly double the mean annual earnings for a consultant.

However, it is also much lower than the pay of some other people who lead large organisations.

For instance the base pay of Tim Davie, the director-general of the BBC, was £494,000 in the same year, and the TUC reports that chief executives of FTSE-100 companies were paid an average of £4.26 million in 2021. Research by PwC said that the average total pay for FTSE-100 CEOs was £3.9 million in 2021/22.

Ms Abbott’s tweet was posted shortly after Ms Pritchard had finished an interview on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg. Ms Pritchard did not express an opinion on doctors’ or nurses’ wages during the interview. She said on two occasions [13:30, 15:30] that “pay is a matter for government and the unions”.

Politicians must use accurate figures when describing the pay of public servants, so people get a true picture of how public money is being used.

Full Fact approached Ms Abbott for comment.

Image courtesy of Chris McAndrew 

We took a stand for good information.

Since publishing our fact check, Diane Abbott has deleted her tweet.

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