NHS chiefs 'should not have pay rises'

HEALTH bosses have been urged to rule out pay rises in the New Year in the face of a worsening economic climate and continued “frivolous” spending.

Craig Robinson

HEALTH bosses have been urged to rule out pay rises in the New Year in the face of a worsening economic climate and continued “frivolous” spending.

According to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, NHS Suffolk - formerly Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) - spent �409 on professionally taken portrait photographs of board members last year, the cost of nine breast cancer mammograms.

A further �3,525 was splashed out on redesigning its website - the cost of 30 initial outpatient meetings with a consultant in Ipswich Hospital's maxillo-facial surgery team.

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Ben Gummer, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Ipswich, who released the figures yesterday, last night called on NHS Suffolk to rule out a pay rise for board members in the 2009/10 financial year.

“I want them [the PCT] to guarantee that not a single penny which could be spent on frontline services will be further filling their pay packets,” he said.

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“Hard working doctors, nurses and support staff in our hospitals are operating under ever tightening budgets and it is time that the PCT looked closer to home.”

Last week it was revealed that NHS Suffolk has spent �193,788 on consultants since April - a significant rise on the �117,560 spent on consultancy in the entire 2007/08 financial year.

It includes nearly �58,000 for the planning consultations on changes to health care services in Eye and Sudbury and nearly �23,000 on launching the Healthy Ambitions campaign - a programme to boost the health of the county's population - and a project to improve sexual health.

The PCT plans and buys health care for the county's population and has a yearly budget of more than �640million.

Tracy Dowling, director of strategic commissioning at NHS Suffolk, said: “As the county's primary care trust, NHS Suffolk is responsible for commissioning health services for the population of Suffolk (excluding Waveney).

“This is a serious responsibility and it is vital that NHS Suffolk, and its board, undertake these duties to ensure the very best healthcare services for the people of Suffolk. It is important for people in Suffolk to understand the role of the primary care trust and who the board members are.”

She said that in order to ensure high quality service provision and service improvement, NHS Suffolk will, on occasion, use consultancy services to gain specific expertise or additional capability on a short-term basis.


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