The chief executive of the NHS, Sir David Nicolson, has been named as one of the highest earning civil servants in the country.

According to a government list naming 172 civil servants who earn more than the Prime Minister, Sir David earns £255,000 and £259,999 – including £45,000-£50,000 for a rented flat and expenses for living in London.

An Excel spreadsheet detailing the names, titles and salary bands of high-earners in the public sector was placed on the Cabinet Office website this morning.

Francis Maude, the minister in charge of the Cabinet Office, said it was part of the new coalition government’s commitment to “transparency.”

This will see many public sector data sets published over the next few months, including those relating to hospital infection rates.

Other high-earners from the NHS include Sir Hugh Taylor, permanent secretary at the Department of Health, who earns £155,000-£159,999 – less than NHS directors such as director of public health professor Sir Liam Donaldson, who earns £205,000-£209,999.

NHS chief information officer Christine Connelly – who is one of only 32 women on the list – is confirmed as earning £200,000-£204,999.

Martin Bellamy, who headed NHS Connecting for Health before leaving for the Cabinet Office, is listed as still being an ICT director at the Department of Health, on a salary of £160,000-£164,000.

A further high earner with NHS links is Matt Tee, a former trust head of communications who moved on to head NHS Direct and is now permanent secretary for government communications on a salary of £160,000-£164,999.

The Prime Minister earns £142,500. The average income in the UK is around £23,000. The government is committed to publishing the salaries of all public servants earning more than £58,000 a year by next year.

However, Jonathan Baume, general secretary of the First Division Association, the union for top civil servants, said it should think carefully about what it was trying to achieve. “How do we maintain and get the balance between the public’s right to know and personal privacy right?” he asked.

Maude has announced that he will be chairing a new Public Sector Transparency Board that will be responsible for setting open data standards across the public sector, conducting research exercises and “driving through the opening of the most wanted data sets.”

Other board members will include Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, from the University of Southampton, and Tom Steinberg, founder of mysociety.

Link: Government announcement on ‘transparency’ and link to Excel spreadsheet of high-earners.