ONE hundred and fifty consultants employed to draw up the Tories Sustainability and Transformation plans (STPs) were paid combined annual salaries of at least £8.5 million, a survey from medical magazine Pulse has found.
Responding, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Chair of Council, said: ‘With the NHS facing an unprecedented crisis it is unacceptable that millions of pounds are being spent on consultancy fees for so-called “transformation plans” that are ultimately designed as a cover to deliver £26bn in cuts to health and social care.
‘This is an obvious and ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money given the brief given to these consultants is to come up with new ways of taking yet more money away from frontline patient care. A recent BMA investigation found that more than 150 jobs, including communications executives and financial analysts with combined annual salaries of at least £8.5 million, have been created to deliver STPs.
‘This is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg as not all STPs have revealed their expenditure.
‘What the NHS needs is more junior doctors, consultants, GPs and other healthcare staff, as well as properly resourced services that provide more GP and hospital appointments and a broad range of services in the community. Patients deserve a properly funded health service where every available penny is spent on frontline services.’
Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, responding to the Pulse analysis on management consultancy spending in the NHS in England, said: ‘The government will struggle to justify this level of spending on management consultants who advise on cutting nursing staff.
‘This sort of expertise should already be held within the NHS. It is a false economy when the consultants cost more than the savings they identify. Nursing staff, who have suffered a 14 per cent real-terms cut to their pay, will find it galling to hear the sums spent on this advice.’
• Private ‘umbrella companies’ operating within the NHS must be banned, Unite demanded yesterday. Unite said: ‘We are calling on the NHS to outlaw umbrella companies operating throughout the organisation.
‘In April this year the government introduced new rules which effectively outlawed agency workers operating in the public sector from being paid on a non-PAYE basis. The changes affect all grades in the NHS including paramedics, porters, nurses and doctors.
‘As a result of this decision, some agencies operating within the NHS have begun to force workers to be paid via umbrella company contracts. If a worker is employed via an umbrella company, they lose 46 pence in the pound of eligible earnings, through national insurance (workers have to pay employers’ national insurance contributions) and income tax.’
Unite national officer for health, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, said: ‘Workers are being ripped off and exploited and their message is essentially that it is down to individual trusts if they allow umbrella companies or not. It is especially alarming that the NHS is aware that there are illegal umbrella companies operating in its environs and they are still not prepared to ban them.’