Health service bosses face a new crackdown on excessive pay being launched by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Hunt warned that the NHS risks losing public confidence because of a "culture of excessive pay and pay-offs".
In a letter to eight health quango chiefs, the Health Secretary warned top managers not to "make the same mistake as the BBC", which has come under sustained fire for the award of six-figure salaries to hundreds of managers and big payouts to departing senior staff.
It was "unacceptable and unjustified" that 48 senior figures in the publicly-funded quangos, including the Care Quality Commission and Health Education England, earned more than the Prime Minister's salary of £142,500, he said.
Mr Hunt is poised to announce plans to impose a cap on the number of managers in NHS quangos earning more than £100,000, along with an £80,000 limit on the maximum pay level on which redundancy packages for quango employees are calculated.
He has no powers to limit pay levels in hospital trusts, but hopes that his move will begin to change the culture which has seen thousands of NHS managers pocket salaries in six figures, said the Daily Telegraph.
The Health Secretary said that the NHS needed a "collective reality check" to ensure that it did not end up in a situation "where very high pay is normalised".
In his letter, Mr Hunt wrote: " I do not want the NHS to make the same mistakes as the BBC, where a culture of excessive pay and pay-offs was tolerated for too long and damaged public confidence in one of our great national institutions."
He asked quango bosses to assess the numbers of people earning over £100,000 in their organisations and decide whether the salaries are "appropriate and publicly justifiable".
Nearly 8,000 NHS hospital managers and consultants were paid six-figure salaries in 2012. Mr Hunt said that while some high salaries were justified, they must be "the exception, not the rule".
He also wants to "claw back" redundancy payments from quango staff who move into another NHS job within a year of leaving their positions.