'Disgrace' of huge rise in NHS bosses

A MASSIVE increase in NHS managers in the East of England - while the number of practice nurses fell - has been called an “absolute disgrace” by an MP.

Anthony Bond

A MASSIVE increase in NHS managers in the East of England - while the number of practice nurses fell - has been called an “absolute disgrace” by an MP.

Figures released yesterdayshow that an extra 274 managers and senior managers were working for the NHS in the East of England in 2008 compared to the previous year - taking the overall total to 3,449.

Over the same time period, there were 78 fewer practice nurses, according to the NHS Information Centre, with numbers dropping from 2,591 to 2,513.

NHS “infrastructure support staff” - which includes managers - rose by 1,137 from 2007 to 2008, up to 17,183.

The figures reveal that the number of managers has increased by an average of 5.5% every year between 1998 and 2008 - and 70% overall.

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This compares to the 2.5% yearly increase in qualified nurses in the same time period (27% overall, up to 27,767) and 3.9% for doctors (46% overall, up to 12,495).

The revelations come after the salary of Sir Neil McKay, chief executive of the East of England Strategic Health Authority, was heavily criticised.

It was revealed that he is earning a �235,000 salary which includes a �2.4million pension pot.

Last night, West Suffolk MP Richard Spring said it was an “absolute disgrace” that NHS money was being spent on so many managers. He also called for the abolishment of the East of England Strategic Health Authority.

“Quite frankly we have to look at this bureaucratic structure and the first thing that has to go is the Strategic Health Authority which is accounting for a disproportionate amount of cost in management,” he said.

“There is far too much interference and red tape in the NHS. We need to decentralise and remove the bureaucracy which costs so much money.

“We are seeing real shortages begin to emerge with nurses and doctors on the front line at a time when it is under pressure and we have these bureaucrats and as far as I am concerned the salaries paid to these people is wholly disproportionate.

“It is an absolute disgrace that NHS money which is in short supply should be used in this way.”

Last night, a spokesman for the NHS East of England said: “NHS East of England provides strategic leadership and support to the local NHS. Over the past three years, the work and dedication of staff has turned a �150m deficit into a �180m surplus.

“We have made clear progress across the region on the issues that matter to patients, including waiting times; access to health screening; and dealing with healthcare associated infections. The East of England had the lowest rates of healthcare associated infection in the country in 2008/09.

“Other successes include better waiting times for treatment, shorter A&E waits and faster ambulance response times; and more convenient GP access for patients. These show that we are delivering on our Improving Lives; Saving Lives pledges.”