Thursday 4 June 2009

Productivity or a waste of time and money?

In March, the Department of Health set up an NHS Productivity Unit to help the NHS become more efficient with the spectre of funding freezes and real term cuts approaching.

Now the Health Service Journal has found out what the staffing and budget for the Productivity Unit is.  Wait for it, it's £350,000 per year, and they have 2 staff members, the Director and a part time secretary.  Even if we take the fact that an NHS Productivity Unit would be useful and given that there's only £350k available for it, is the best way to staff it by having one very highly paid Director and basically nothing else.

Margaret Edwards was at Yorkshire and the Humber Strategic Health Authority on between £180k and £185k in 2007/08. (Source Y&H SHA Annual Report 07/08)  With the £12k of benefits she was on and an estimated 5% pay rise in 2008/09 and 2% for 2009/10 then even if she hasn't got any more for the new role she would be costing the DH around £260k once NI and Pension are figured in. Take maybe £25k out for the part time secretary and that leaves £65k for glossy brochures explaining to NHS organisations how to do something that they should really already know.

Assuming that Edwards is going to work full time then that's 220 working days per year to work with the around 500 trusts in England, that's never going to be worth it.  Why are we wasting money like this and giving the Tories and the likes of Burning Our Money such an easy target?

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