Monday, 26 April 2010

NHS Bonuses take the biscuit

An article in the Observer yesterday caught my eye. It was based on research carried out by Norman Lamb, Lib Dem Shadow Health Secretary and the Lib Dem health team which revealed that NHS bosses at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust recently received mega bonuses. The Hospital Trust spent £240,738 on bonuses to top managers - more than any other NHS body that responded to to the survey. Eight executive directors shared another £186,117, as well as the £54,611 payment to the chief executive. With NHS budgets under severe strain and this set to increase these payments seem to me to be really ill-judged. Many people working in the NHS are not well paid and many patients cannot access treatments they need on the NHS due to cost.As Norman Lamb points out in the article:"These bonuses are utterly scandalous. People will be disgusted by the extent to which fat cats in the public sector have been enriched at a time when the NHS has denied people drugs that they need and access to treatments such as in mental health," he said. "We thought it was just in banking, but the unacceptable bonus culture appears to be alive and kicking in the upper echelons of the NHS." Lib Dems are committed to limiting the pay and bonuses of top NHS managers so that none are paid more than the Prime Minister. We would spend on some parts of the NHS by cutting waste in others. We would cut the size of the Department of Health by half , abolish unnecessary health quangos and scrap strategic health authorities. These savings would help us do things like guarantee respite care for one million carers and improve access to counselling for people with mental health problems.

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