Consultants paid £1k for four hours' work in hospital overtime splurge


Spending on premium-rate overtime by hospitals has risen by more than a third in the past two years, a Freedom of Information request has found.

Hospitals can pay consultants a higher-than-normal rate for extra shifts.

Some hospitals have paid up to £1,000 for four hours' work, research by the BBC found, while rates of £600 a shift is common - three or four times consultants' normal rate of pay.

The average amount paid in high-cost overtime last year was £13,356 per consultant.

One doctor at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust made £375,000 on top of their salary from the shifts.

Figures from 114 of the 186 trusts and health boards show the amount hospitals spend on high-cost overtime is increasing.

In 2015-16, £168m was spent, up from £125m in 2013-14.

Not all hospitals pay overtime at higher rates.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust stopped paying premium rates in 2010.

Andrew Foster, the trust's chief executive, told the BBC: "I don't think it is very defensible to pay a huge premium to one group of staff and not to other groups of staff."

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the payments were a sign of doctor shortages.

Keith Brent, the BMA consultants' leader, said: "These payments are made because there simply are not enough doctors and hospitals are under pressure to meet waiting time targets."