It’s hardly surprising that some NHS Trusts still face shortages in front line staff. The average Trust Chief executive - NHS managers already among the best paid public servants in the country - enjoyed a salary rise of 7.6 per cent on average last year, while offering front-line health workers and nurses only 1.9 per cent, it was reported today.
Although the NHS argues that such managers have played a vital role in the success of the health service’s strong performance in recent years, we are yet to see the results of this labour, particularly after damning reports such as the Mid Staffordshire scandal. At the same time, 47% of staff that put the hard work into actual patient care- doctors, nurse and midwives- said they did not feel there were enough people to do the job properly. Predictably, despite a record 1.36million people working within the NHS, the number of managers has risen by 9.4 per cent while the number of nurses has only risen by 2.8 per cent.
When there is already unease over the ever increasing gap between high paid executives and ordinary frontline staff, in both the private and public sectors, it is astonishing that the Department of Health can justify these rises. It undermines the Government’s claims to be putting the patient first if nothing else; the best paid Chief Executive – Robert Naylor of University College Hospital Trust London – saw his salary rise to £230,000, enough to pay for at least ten ward nurses. While many ordinary taxpayers’ are struggling to make ends meet in this recession, the DoH must be doing everything to minimize the burden on taxpayers while increasing the quality of the service provided by the NHS. This does not mean paying senior managers more. In all likelihood it means paying them less, particularly if the hospitals they administer are not performing to acceptable standards. We can then use the money to maintain the pay of the frontline staff who actually deliver healthcare to the public, keeping the professions that matter (nurses, doctors, etc) attractive to those planning their careers. Taxpayer’s money must not to be used to line the pockets of an elite group of managers, whose benefit to the health service has been questionable at best.
As Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary argued: "What the NHS needs is good management, not over-management”.