Abstract painting of subject, generated by DALL-E 2

£715m to clock watch

19 Apr 2007 - JG

It wouldn't feel right if there wasn't an NHS story on Picking Losers, so here goes. Surely the Department of Health must be the worst financially managed "business" in the UK? The National Audit Office seems to think so, and I agree. It turns out that those hard working doctors who received on average a 27% pay rise have seen their work load decrease. That's right - we are now paying even more for less. Edward Leigh, the chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, which oversees the work of the NAO, is pretty damning in his assessment of this department - "The bottom line is that the Department of Health has increased consultants' salaries without demonstrating any extra productivity in return... This is one more example of weak financial management by the Department of Health. It drove through the new pay deal with scant regard for proper evidence and solid financial forecasting."

The introduction of this new contract has so far cost £715m over three years (£150m more than forecast...). Incredibly, despite this massive pay bonus, the NAO found consultants were also unhappy with the new arrangements, reporting reduced morale and the development of a "clockwatching attitude". I am paying some highly skilled consultant over £100k a year to get demotivated and watch a clock? Are you being serious? The NHS has also increased the number of consultants over this time just so even more people can watch the clock, apparently. The DoH never ceases to amaze me.


Topics: Health

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