Does the NHS Really Have No Shame?

While many people have problems with the NHS, there can be no denying that overall the staff work very hard. The doctors and nurses in particular are often asked to work extremely unsociable hours in a stressful environment. While the doctors get very well paid, nurses while not exactly scraping by are perhaps not adequately rewarded for the amount of work that they do. So how can the NHS justify paying people massive amounts of money when they are incompetent and aren’t even working?

The issue of how much NHS management should be paid has been extremely important in recent years. This is primarily because during the current economic crisis the NHS top management have kept their high salaries and refused point blank to give them up. This at the same time that the NHS was being told to cut costs, but these the cuts were from the lower echelons of the NHS with nurses wages and pensions coming under threat. CEO Sir David Nicholson branded the “the man with no shame” was the most high profile employee. In 2011 despite earning £200,000 a year he was still claiming £50,000 per year in expenses and £37,600 of benefits in kind. This was at the same time he was tasked with making £20billion cuts from the NHS by 2015. Despite these revelations he will only be retiring in March 2014 due to the fact that he was actually pretty incompetent.

The most recent addition to this idea of no shame is NHS national director of human resources and organisational development Jo-Anne Wass. Miss Wass is going to step down from her position, primarily because she was a close ally of David Nicholson. However, she is not resigning as although she will be doing no work for the NHS whatsoever she will officially be on secondment. What this means is that for two years she will continue to be paid her full of £155,000 salary by the NHS. These revelations come at the same time that nurses are actually being asked to take a pay cut by the health secretary, against the advice of expert advisors.

What it makes clear is that there really are two worlds within the NHS. The frontline staff who have to work very hard to take home a wage which is actually being lowered as often as possible. Then there are the management who seem to live in a land of pixies and fairy tales and don’t seem to care about the flight of their staff. As Tory MP Charlotte Leslie said, "There is the hard-working front line who abide by economic rules and austerity. And then you have this kind of luxury bubble of NHS management which is completely unaccountable, still splashing out money like it grows on trees. It’s vital we burst this bubble. This news is a punch in the face for people working on the front line and taking a hit, seeing people poncing around in quango bodies seemingly getting enormous pay-offs." The moral thing to do would be to refuse the pay, but it seems that this was a carefully worked out deal so that she was out of the picture when the new CEO came into power. So I think that refusing the pay is not on the cards at all.

So what is your opinion do you think that the NHS have no shame or is it just a case of bad management?