UK’s healthcare system wastes over $75 million on unnecessary staff
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is wasting dozens of millions of public money on over 1,100 “unnecessary jobs” such as car park environmental officers and art curators, the think tank TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) revealed.
Publicly-funded NHS spent more than $76.7 million “on 1,129 unnecessary jobs.” Around $60 million was dedicated to 826 PR staff and another $11.3 million financed the 165 equality and diversity employees, while the rest of the money was spent on “green” staff.
TPA carried out the investigation through Freedom of Information requests that it sent out to all NHS organizations in the UK.
Reportedly, the money could have been used to hire 1,662 full time nurses.
The extravagant positions included a part-time arts hospital co-ordinator at Dorset County hospitals, which had a listed annual salary of around $50,000. Another example was a green label development co-ordinator at Mid Cheshire NHS trust that made about $40,500.
"Taxpayers expect the health budget to be spent on real doctors, not spin doctors,” Chief executive of the TPA Jonathan Isaby told Press Association. “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 patients rather than squandered on bureaucrats."
Meanwhile, Barts and the London hospital hired an EU office director with the annual salary of about $145,800, along with an energy and carbon manager that made $59,000.
Also, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals employs a communications director with a listed salary of $153,800. West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit hired the most PR staff, amounting to 36 positions costing the unit over $2.3 million.
The NHS has not been touched by government budget cuts in the UK and currently has an annual budget of around $176 billion.
In response to the investigation, the head of health at Unison Christina McAnea said that TPA does not have the expertise to say which jobs are necessary and which ones are not. “Since when has the so-called TaxPayers' Alliance been the expert on what jobs are needed in the NHS and what are not? And how much of the NHS's time and precious money has it wasted asking for this pointless information?”
“It is very foolish to speculate about the content of a job just from the title. The NHS is a very large and complex organization with a multibillion-pound budget. That means a range of staff are needed to ensure that clinicians are free to get on with their work,” McAnea said.
The TPA is a pressure group and think tank in the UK, which was formed in 2004 with the goal to argue for a low tax economy.
The TPA’s investigation comes amid reports that NHS is short on cash, with former Labour health minister Lord Warner calling for British citizens to pay an extra $16 a month as a membership charge in order to boost the organization’s budget.
Warner argued that the NHS cannot be sustained without new sources of income. "Many politicians and clinicians are scared to tell people that our much-beloved 65-year-old NHS no longer meets the country's needs," Warner told the Guardian. "Frankly, it is often poor value for money. The NHS now represents the greatest public spending challenge after the general election. MPs taking to the streets to preserve clinically unsustainable hospital services only damage their constituents."