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Britain’s highest-paid care home boss pockets £2.27million after a £250,000 pay rise last year

December 12, 2021

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Britain’s highest-paid care home boss sparked outrage last night after it was revealed he was handed a £250,000 pay rise while planning to increase fees by a record near 10 per cent. 

Barchester Healthcare chief Dr Pete Calveley’s pay package was bumped up 9.35 per cent to £2.27million in 2020. 

This means he is paid around 130 times more than some of the carers who worked for him on the frontline during the pandemic. 

It comes after Dr Calveley’s annual package more than doubled to £2.02million the previous year. 

And his latest increase was awarded despite more than one in ten of the firm’s homes being rated ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission. 

Barchester Healthcare CEO Dr Pete Calverley (centre), pictured with some of the carers who work for him, was paid a salary of £2.27million last year

Barchester Healthcare CEO Dr Pete Calverley (centre), pictured with some of the carers who work for him, was paid a salary of £2.27million last year

One Suffolk home was downgraded to ‘inadequate’ by the care watchdog – the worst possible rating – after dementia sufferers were left unsupervised around knives and residents who had injured others several times were ‘left for extended periods of time’ without staff being present. 

Staff also left a resident who was at ‘high risk of strangulation’ unsupervised for long periods around visible wires. 

Today, critics branded Barchester ‘morally unacceptable’ and ‘disgraceful’ for dishing out cash to Dr Calveley while raiding residents’ savings. 

Former care minister Sir Noman Lamb said it ‘beggars belief that Barchester can think it appropriate to give this scale of salary increase to their CEO, who is already paid an obscene amount’. 

Barchester Healthcare Limited, part of Jersey-based investment firm Grove Ltd, is majority-owned by three Irish billionaires – Dermot Desmond, John Magnier and JP McManus. 

It runs almost 200 homes and saw earnings increase by £16.3million to £212.2million in 2020, driven in part by ‘fee-rate inflation’, according to the firm’s annual accounts. 

Dr Calverley was handed a £250,000 pay rise despite one in ten of Barchester's homes being rated 'Required Improvement' by the Care Quality Commission

Dr Calverley was handed a £250,000 pay rise despite one in ten of Barchester’s homes being rated ‘Required Improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission

Latest documents filed with Companies House reveal it also took £12.6million in government grants. 

In a letter to residents and relatives last month, Dr Calveley said the firm was looking to increase fees by 9.35 per cent next year. 

While contracts outline a maximum increase of 5.9 per cent per year, a loophole allows this to be ramped up if there are ‘major Government interventions leading to a significant and demonstrable increase in our costs or taxes’. 

Dr Calveley listed a surge in gas prices, furniture costs and an expected 10 per cent inflation in the cost of food among the reasons for the unprecedented rise. 

He said while Barchester is looking to ‘mitigate’ the costs, they are ‘fundamental to delivering great care… which is not something we can compromise on’. 

He also cited the National Living Wage, an increase to National Insurance and wage inflation due to ‘competition’ for staff. One relative said it is ‘morally unjustified’ for Dr Calveley to receive a £250,000 rise while increasing fees. 

She pays £7,500 a month for her surviving parent’s care in a Barchester home – if the increase goes ahead, she will have to stump up £8,400 more per year. 

She said Barchester ‘have you over a barrel’ as it can be detrimental to move vulnerable residents. 

She added homes are ‘being run as money-making ventures’, and that it felt ‘exploitative’. 

‘I don’t mind if people are fairly remunerated,’ she said. ‘What feels wrong is to be profiting at a time when people in this sector have been under huge pressure, relatives have been denied access and residents have been isolated. 

‘To use a government increase in the minimum wage to break the promise not to put fees up beyond 5.9 per cent is unfair.’ 

Of the group’s 198 homes listed on the CQC website, 27 are rated ‘requires improvement’ in addition to the one deemed ‘inadequate’. 

Homes can receive one of four ratings: outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate. 

A Daily Mail audit revealed 151 were ‘good’ and eight ‘outstanding’. Eileen Chubb, director of campaign group Compassion in Care, said the pay rise was ‘unacceptable’, adding: ‘We need to stop rewarding failure.’ 

There are almost 800 jobs advertised on Barchester’s website, some at £9 per hour. 

Staff on this rate doing a 37.5-hour-week would earn £17,550 a year – less than 1 per cent of Dr Calveley’s pay. 

In January the Mail revealed how Dr Calveley, 61, who joined Barchester in 2014 from debt-ridden chain Four Seasons Healthcare, had received a Covid jab before the majority of his staff and residents had been vaccinated – despite the fact he was no longer visiting his care homes. 

The daughter of one resident said at the time she was ‘incensed’ after Dr Calveley posted a picture on Facebook of himself being jabbed on December 23 last year. 

Barchester says it pays its staff above the living wage. The firm declined to comment further.

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