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Over £46m 'wasted on unnecessary jobs' in health service

More than £46m of public money has been “wasted on 1,129 unnecessary jobs” in the NHS, including an art curator and a car park environmental officer, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) have claimed.

The alliance argued that the money could have instead paid for 1,662 full time nurses.

The majority of the money (£36m) was spent on 826 public relations roles, while £6.8m was spent on 165 equality and diversity staff, with £3.5m spent on 86 “green” staff, according to an investigation carried out by the campaign group.

Among the roles it identified after sending Freedom of Information requests to every NHS organisation in the UK was Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust’s art curator and programme manager, who costs £33,258 a year after salary, pensions and a London weighting are taken into account.

Taxpayers' Alliance

Jonathan Isaby

Meanwhile, the Royal Free London Foundation Trust hired a car parking environmental officer at a cost of £34,854, while the University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust pay an administrator of green travel facilities £23,527, including pensions contributions.

In addition, Gateshead Foundation Trust have an energy management manager on the payroll at a cost of £40,654.

The organisation that hired the most PR staff was West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit, with 36 public relations workers at a cost of over £1.4m.

Five NHS trusts employed communications directors with salaries and pensions contributions topping £100,000 − Barts Trust, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, North and East London CSU and Royal Brompton and Harefield Foundation Trust.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers expect the health budget to be spent on real doctors, not spin doctors. The NHS employs far too many people in jobs that do nothing to deliver frontline patient care.

“It’s time for health chiefs to launch a war on waste and ensure the NHS budget is spent on on patients rather than squandered on bureaucrats,” he said.

“A range of staff are needed to ensure that clinicians are free to get on with their work”

Christina McAnea

But Christina McAnea, head of health at Unison, said: “It is very foolish to speculate about the content of a job just from the title.

“The NHS is a very large and complex organisation with a multibillion-pound budget,” she said. “That means a range of staff are needed to ensure that clinicians are free to get on with their work.”

Readers' comments (9)

  • "The NHS employs far too many people in jobs that do nothing to deliver frontline patient care."

    “The NHS is a very large and complex organisation with a multibillion-pound budget,” she said. “That means a range of staff are needed to ensure that clinicians are free to get on with their work.”

    Complex layers of management and bureaucrats is what hospitals have and is this really essential to run an efficent and effective service for our public?

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  • In the private sector it is all about image, the reality is most NHS staff are already delivering a better service and care than the private sector but the private sector has a better image and is being bankrolled by this government (and sadly the last too).
    I would rather be treated in the REAL NHS any day, than a place where the Sky TV package comes above Medical care.

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  • Anonymous | 1-Apr-2014 8:13 pm

    well it seems as if the government are as gullible as many of the rest and are taken in by the shiny glossy and very superficial image.

    I wouldn't dream of being hospitalised in my local BMI where I worked for a few shifts before being booted out through one phone call from the DN for being reported to have complained about the organisation when i had absolutely no grounds for complaint when I was just finding my way in a new job and hadn't been there long enough to find any fault. It just makes me wonder what they were afraid of and what they had to hide. I was offered no chance of discussion and have no idea who bought the complaint against me but it did so much psychological damage it was the beginning of the end of my career after many long years of experience and a higher university degree.

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  • The problem with these jobs is not just that they cost money that would be better spent on front line staff is that they actually impact on front line staff as they too expect us to jump through their hoops to justify their jobs. We got a book of poetry from our trust courtesy of one of these types of posts and departments. It was supposed to make us feel better.

    And what of the posts devoted to cqc? How mad to spend money on people who tell us how to pass a cqc inspection instead of spending money on front line staffing that would mean we could meet patient needs and then passing a cqc inspection would come naturally. At one point we were being asked to spend more time compiling evidence for cqc than actually doing care and when I pointed out the lunacy in such actions I was told to stop being negative. Not even my book of poetry could console me.

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  • Thought I'd do some maths and divide £46m by 1,129. The answer is £40,744 as the average wage. That looks like band 7 jobs.
    'The majority of the money (£36m) was spent on 826 public relations roles, while £6.8m was spent on 165 equality and diversity staff, with £3.5m spent on 86 “green” staff, according to an investigation carried out by the campaign group.' An average wage of £33,426 for 1077 staff (band 6/7)
    That leaves 52 jobs with an average wage of £192,308!

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  • Ellen Watters

    Wow..This is quite a revelation. So if this is looked into and dealt with as it should be, there could be enormous savings for the NHS.

    Maybe enough to mean that we can reduce the cost of our NMC registration ??

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  • I was in nurse management in the eighties and saw, first hand, the changes in management structure.

    Almost overnight,there were managers ad infinitum with assistant to manager and assistant to assistant to assistant. They had the most wonderful titles with an equally wonderful salary to go with them.

    I saw the writing on the wall and got out and returned to clinical. Good move.

    Since those days it would appear that this has escalated many fold resulting in decisions being made that impact on patient care. Hence all of these dreadful reports and unecessary deaths ( will we ever forget mid staffs). NO.

    An urgent review is needed into the relevance of this top heavy structure and only then will monies be directed into the appropriate clinical settings with appropriate levels of staffing.

    Bring it on...

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  • you can only tell if they are good managers if they carry a clipboard!

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  • "More than £46m of public money has been wasted on 1,129 unnecessary jobs”
    "£6.8m was spent on 165 equality and diversity staff"

    Whilst E&D staff may need to prove the effectiveness of their roles (but that's a challenge plenty of other roles generally accepted as useful, e.g. specialist nurses, have, hence guidelines to help them), to assume they are unnecessary smacks of the all too common attitude that there aren't equality/diversity issues in the NHS - an attitude all too often held by the loud majority who do not have a protected characteristic (although, given they now include sex/gender, basically everyone is now covered). However, as per the recent news story in NT (http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-zones/management/nhs-may-be-guilty-of-institutional-racism-report-claims/5069877.article) discrimination is out there, so how can E&D staff be considered unnecessary?
    My 20-yr nursing career has been ended by the health impacts of the bullying and discrimination I suffered after being 'outed' as having a protected characteristic. The discrimination and diagnostic shadowing I've then experienced as a patient has left me ashamed of a profession I used to love. Until I'd experienced the horrendous and wide-ranging impact of discrimination for myself, I might have deemed E&D roles an unnecessary 'box-ticking' role; now I have experienced it - believe me, the NHS has a long way to go, & more than half the nurses I've come across as a patient need to re-read their Code of Conduct re: diversity/discrimination.

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