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Peter Carter criticises 'shockingly high' consultant pay


An indebted hospital trust paid its interim chief executive as much for three months’ work as it would have cost to employ eight nurses for a year. He was paid more for one day’s work than a nurse earns in a month.

Dorset County Hospital NHS Trust paid Derek Smith £248,041 for 97 days’ work, which means he made £2,557 a day, as well as paying him £19,539 in expenses.

The salary was paid via an agency for his three to four days a week contract, running from September 2009 to the end of the last financial year in March.

After being presented with the trust’s yearly report and accounts for 2009-10, the board of governors was told it needs to cut £20 million from its budgets over the next three years in order to ensure it breaks even and begins to create a surplus.

Royal College of Nursing chief Dr Peter Carter said: “It is frankly unbelievable that these shockingly high sums of money continue to be spent at the same time that nurses and other staff are seeing frontline services cut and being asked to accept a pay freeze. This wasteful spending should be eradicated and resources must be directed to the frontline where they directly help patient care.

“The trust needs to justify why it was paying a rate equivalent to over half a million pounds a year for an interim chief executive.

“Sadly, this might be just a drop in the ocean as far as management consultant spend goes: the RCN identified last year that around £350 million was spent by NHS organisations on management consultants. Others estimate that it is much more.”

But Dr Jeffrey Ellwood, who chairs the trust, insisted: “I do not believe this is an excessive sum considering that under the leadership of the interims the trust has developed a recovery plan which now stands us in very good stead for tackling our financial challenges.”


Readers' comments (6)

  • It's about time Carter actually said something useful, now what the hell is he going to do about it?

    Come on man, get a spine and ballot your members for a strike!

    It can be one of our demands that trusts stop throwing money at wasteful management idiots and spend it on Nurses instead!

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  • It may have seemed as money well spent , at the time.However the money would have been better spent on patient care.
    The NHS keep banging on about equality, where is the equality in this senario
    Nurses at the back of the Q .yet again!!!!
    When are we going to stand up for ourselves and not rely on others to do it for us............

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  • Natalie Jewell

    I find myself speechless every time I read an article like this. We're being told about deficits, cuts, pensions, budgets all the time. Nurses have been asked to work with the rest of the NHS to decrease waste (as if we weren't already trying and as if we wash our hands of improving our wastefulness). We're not being set a very good example from the top though. Are we really meant to take our directors seriously when they blow patient money like this?

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  • What a disgrace to the NHS. We few nurses in a specialist department have to reasses our role because all departments are to save money.We would be 'down banded' needless to say we are unhappy and the RCN offers no help.Patient care does not enter into the equation.So much money wasted by the top people.We wait to learn how much the man just employed to 'turn our finances around' in our trust so that we are elegible for Foundation status. Dream on ..we will never be told.

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  • What is going on? Did I just read that correctly?
    How can we as nurses be constantly harrassed about 'OUR' need to cut down on waste & expenditure, and often left to man a short-staffed ward, when the top management are bringing home the big bucks....!
    Peter Carter should be ashamed of himself if he doesn't 'man-up' & do something about this. Help us nurses stand-up & fight our corner, Peter!!

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  • yes, well it's very interesting that the Certification Office records that the RCN spends £21M on member benefits and 'shockingly high' levels, £11M - yes, and that's a year - on administration.

    Perhaps Peter should start looking at his own organisation before he goes around criticising others?

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