Health trust hires two temp penpushers on £1,000 a day

Peter Byrne/PA Wire

I'm sure they meant well, but the management team at the Primary Care Trust that employed two interim execs on £1,000 a day each should admit themselves to their own hospital and have their heads examined.

It seems that, for whatever reason, the message to keep a lid on management salaries has simply not sunk in.

Instead, the Luton PCT paid £265,000 to Keith Edmunds for a 12-month stint as interim director of commissioning while his colleague Chris White was paid up to £235,000 for spending just over a year as interim chief operations officer.
In effect, these temporary positions became expensive full-time posts for the PCT, though they claim they were simply paying the going rate. Maybe there is some justification for £1,000-a-day in the short term but no-one considers 12 months 'short term'.

Isolated incident
And while forking out that sort of cash, which could well have been spent on a myriad of other NHS essentials – more nurses, for one – might be understandable if it was an isolated incident, it's not.

Down in the South West, the skint Dorset County Hospital paid temporary NHS chief executive Derek Smith £387,220 for 141 days of work. That's £3,163 a day.

I hope he worked through lunch!

As well as these salaries for stop-gap management bods, health trusts are also paying recruitment agencies – £16 million last year – to headhunt the right people for the top jobs, which in some cases they are filling themselves anyway.

Stockport Primary Care Trust forked out around £110,000 to a recruitment agency over two years to find the a new chief executive. They ended up giving the £125,000-a-year job to their own deputy, Claire Molloy, who had been acting in that position for those two years anyway.

I bet they didn't get a refund from the recruitment consultants.

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has said he wants to cut management costs in the NHS by 45% over the next four years.

Judging by the revelations of this latest waste, it really shouldn't be that hard.
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