Hertfordshire’s director of public health is among hundreds of health workers across the UK receiving a six-figure salary.

Research by the TaxPayers’ Alliance revealed Jim McManus, who has worked as the director of public health at Hertfordshire County Council since 2012, earned a total remuneration of £136,020 in 2018/19, including his salary and pension.

It means Mr McManus is among 356 public health staff who received more than £100,000 in that tax year – and 21 received more money than the Prime Minister.

But the county council defended Mr McManus’ pay, who said his work is “vital” to the county.

Meanwhile, it was found that Dr Mike Gogarty at neighbouring Essex County Council earned a total remuneration of £194,020 in 2018/19 – the highest of any council health director in the country.

In London Haringey’s Will Maimaris earns £164,264, Barnet’s Tamara Djuteric £142,382 and Redbridge’s Gladys Xavier £128,329. Havering’s Mark Ansell earns £127,750 and Enfield’s Stuart Lines £126,360, while Waltham Forest’s Joe McDonnell receives £113,211.

In Public Health England, London director Yvonne Doyle had a total remuneration of £257,500, while director of strategy Adrian Masters earns £247,500 and director for health protection and medical director Paul Cosford makes £223,500.

Scott Simmonds, a researcher at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: "Brain surgeons, consultants, nurses and carers deserve their salaries but it's hard to justify such sky-high pay bills for the high priests of the nanny state.

“Typical taxpayers are subject to a deluge of media stories criticising them for their lifestyles, with many sick to the back teeth of being judged and lectured by well-heeled quangocrats. Where someone is earning huge amounts at taxpayers’ expense they must be accountable to the people who pay the bill and who rely on the services they run."

Defending Mr McManus’ salary, a spokesperson from Hertfordshire County Council said: “One of our priorities at Hertfordshire County Council is to ensure that residents of Hertfordshire have the opportunity to live healthy lives for as long as possible. The areas that Professor Jim McManus leads, as our Director of Public Health, is vital to that. His valued work covers a broad range of commissioning, service provision and quality assurance activities.

“We have taken significant steps to reduce senior management costs at Hertfordshire County Council in recent years, whilst ensuring that our salaries are in line with the market to attract and retain the high quality senior officers needed to meet our challenging agenda in a competitive recruitment market. We do not recognise the inaccurate amounts quoted and to ensure transparency in this area and comply with open data, all relevant information is available on our website.”