Healthcare Governance Review usually prefers to ignore the sensationalist, ill-informed and grossly unjust and unhelpful remarks about NHS managers made by the media (and Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats!).
But today’s headline-grabbing, newspaper-selling manager-bashing by the News of the World simply cannot go without comment.
The News of the World states that “PENPUSHERS in the National Health Service cost a sickening £2.6 BILLION last year – with managers OUTNUMBERING frontline consultants.”
They say that “The NHS has lost sight of what it’s supposed to be providing – good quality healthcare that’s value for money” and they attribute this to the amount of money spent on management. They have produced a “table of shame” showing management costs in a range of NHS organisations. “Top of our table,” says the News of the World, “spending £7 million – 8.5 per cent of its total budget-on desk-jockeys is the Bedford and Luton Mental Health Trust, where chief executive Paul Mullen is on a handsome £115,000 a year.”
Now, those of us ‘in the know’ are fully aware that the NHS is a high risk industry that is overly-bureaucratic but heavily under-managed. Many patients die uneccesarily or suffer needless harm every year simply because of management failings – in short, the NHS does not spend nearly enough on good management and management systems to protect and support doctors and other clinicians in providing safe, high quality care. By other high risk industry standards, what is really “sickening” about the NHS is that it ONLY spends, at most, 8.5% of revenue managing itself. Other high risk organisations would be at least double this figure.
Read the News of the World article here and, if you feel strongly about their ill informed portrayal of management in the NHS, leave a comment on their website.