Nicholas Carding of the Eastern Daily Press reports:
Spending on wages for senior health bosses in Norfolk and Waveney has risen by nearly 15pc in the last three years – despite demands for millions of pounds to be saved locally.
Wages for senior members at the five Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) rose to almost £4m last year, compared with £3.4m in 2013/14. In Suffolk, which has two CCGs, the wage bill was £1.3m.
This is greed. Simple, shameful greed. The few helping themselves to funds meant for the NHS.
However as local NHS budgets become increasingly squeezed – an investigation by this newspaper has found examples of high spending on wages and exit packages.
These examples include:
– A 14.6pc rise in the wage bill for senior CCG members across Norfolk and Waveney in the last three years, but a 5pc drop in Suffolk.
– One health chief pocketed £57,000 for six months after resigning.
– One financially-troubled CCG spent £20,000 on a ‘turnaround director’ who was in post just one month.
– The same CCG, which fell into a £6m deficit last year, paid out exit packages worth £102,000 while cutting patient services.
We know all about the former Chief Officer of Norwich CCG, Jonathon Fagge, and his ‘idea’ that the wages of front line staff should be cut as CCG managers paid themselves more and more despite failing to keep important promises. Jonathon Fagge was previously a management consultant involved in the Timber Hill fiasco, which saw the £2 million Walk-In Centre in Castle Mall evicted due to ill-judged short fixed-term lease terms despite the NHS spending a fortune to adapt the retail premises for medical purposes.
Why did Norwich CCG waste £57,000 of taxpayers’ money on Jonathon Fagge who had resigned? Why did Jonathon Fagge want NHS funds for doing no work? When Jonathon Fagge was accused of assaulting his wife by beating, Norwich CCG did not suspend him: instead he was given ‘compassionate leave’ as this allegedly ‘best fitted the circumstances.’ When Fagge was on ‘compassionate leave’ on full pay, Norwich CCG kept it secret for three months and nobody noticed any difference. Just two months after leaving Norwich CCG with £57,000, Jonathon Fagge was again working in the NHS at Waltham Forest GP Federation. Fagge enjoyed an effective pay rate of £28,500 per month at the taxpayer’s expense.
Meanwhile Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG defended its decision to pay its chief officer more than national guidelines suggest.
Andy Evans receives £135,000 per year, but NHS guidelines state chief officers for CCGs with a population of less than 500,000 should be paid a maximum of £120,000.
Sorry, Mr Evans. That’s just pure greed. At least £15,000 per year of selfish greed. How do you look at yourself in the mirror?
It is quite outrageous that South Norfolk CCG will not disclose why and how it spent £102,000 on exit packages when its job is to spend taxpayers’ money effectively and with public accountability. We hope the EDP will take the issue to the Information Commissioner if necessary.
Are these CCG bureaucrats worth these enormous and increasing sums? The answer is no.
Norwich CCG has refused to answer Freedom of Information Act requests from our campaign citing ‘commercial confidentiality’ which is scandalous behaviour by body which is supposed to be locally accountable for spending public money. The refusals are sent from Worship Street in the City of London.
When we challenge CCG cuts, commissioners claim they have no latitude as they are dictated to by central targets and funding formulae.
When we challenge CCG salaries, commissioners claim they innovate and make local accountable decisions.
Both can’t be true.
All this while funding for mental health services has been slashed to the point of being rated Inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, questioned why expenditure on wages was higher in Norfolk than Suffolk.
He said: “I’m sure many of these managers would argue that one of the reasons they deserve to be paid so handsomely is because they say that’s the going rate for people who can take the difficult decisions to make some our most complex and important organisations work effectively. I don’t think that they are earning their money here if the outcome is tens of thousands of pounds going on exit packages and golden handshakes when that’s not happening in the neighbouring county.”
Click on the image below to read the full article on the EDP website: