Dutch MPs call for salary cap for healthcare directors

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The Dutch cabinet does not want senior directors working for healthcare institutions to earn more than a government minister.

27 August 2008
THE HAGUE -- A majority in the lower house of parliament say they do not want senior directors working for healthcare institutions to earn more than a Dutch government minister.

The cabinet has called on the healthcare sector to implement a voluntary code of practice for salaries but parliament says the cabinet's proposal does not go far enough.
On Tuesday, the organisation representing healthcare directors, NVZD, proposed capping salaries for senior managers and directors at EUR 220,000 per year. The head of the NVZD says the amount is justifiable as the healthcare industry is very competitive and needs to attract top-flight professionals in order to maintain a sound financial base and compete with other institutions.
The NVZD says the Balkenende norm - whereby public sector workers are not allowed to earn more than the prime minister's salary of EUR 186,000 per year - should not apply to a sector that has to compete for clients. The cabinet introduced the Balkenende norm in numerous public sector industries earlier this year.
The NVZD will discuss its proposal with Health Minister Ab Klink.

On Monday, the health minister said he was in favour of a code of practice for salaries in the healthcare industry.
However, Christian Democrat MP Jan de Vries says that history has shown that the sector is incapable of keeping its salaries under control.
Socialist Party MP Renske Leijten says the amounts proposed by the healthcare industry are "scandalously high". SP research shows that most of the sector's top managers earn more than EUR 300,000, much more than the Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.
SP leader Agnes Kant said: "It makes no sense that millions of euros worth of premiums end up in the pockets of just a few top managers. Whenever privatisation is introduced, salaries go through the roof. One top manager gobbles up the budget for 10 nurses."  

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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