THE head of a new primary care health trust is being paid between £85,000 and £90,000 a year.

Details of the salary band of chief executive Penny Jones are shown in the first annual report of the Craven, Harrogate and Rural District trust.

Ms Jones, 53, qualified as a social worker with children and families in 1986.

After working for North Yorshire County Council, she worked for North Yorkshire Health Authority, and was appointed its planning director in 1999.

The primary care trust, which allocates £173m of National Health Service spending, covers Craven, Harrogate, Ripon, Knaresborough, Masham, Skipton and Settle, and was established in April, last year.

Earlier this year, the Commission for Health Improvement awarded the trust and its mental health service, run in the Harrogate district, a maximum three star assessment.

Other key management salaries listed in the report include a salary band of £65,000 to £70,000 for director of finance Bernard Chalk, 49, and a £60,000 to £65,000 range for director of mental health David Brown, 42.

Dr Andrew Clark, 52, the trust's medical director/director of public health is listed as having a salary of between £75,000 and £80,000.

The trust, which employs about 800 staff, is responsible for 26 general medical practices with 141 GPs, 101 dentists, 38 community pharmacies and 28 optometric practices.

Its strategy until 2006 aims to improve health in the area and promote easier access to services.