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Crackdown on NHS bureaucrats costing taxpayers £2.8bn a year: Steve Barclay launches plan

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Crackdown on NHS bureaucrats costs taxpayers £2.8bn a year: Health Minister Steve Barclay launches plan to eradicate waste, wakery and deadwood to cut costs and free doctors from bureaucracy amid a backlog crisis

  • He will reveal 18,600 people work in NHS management bodies
  • It’s more than double the 9,000 in 2013, with 5,000 more since Covid-19
  • A further 26,000 work in the NHS’s local Integrated Care Boards, costing £1.1bn

The health minister will today crack down on NHS bureaucrats who cost taxpayers £2.8bn a year.

Steve Barclay will shine a light on ‘waste and wakery’ with the aim of clearing dead wood and moving more managers to frontline positions in NHS trusts.

It means they can take over some of the administrative work currently performed by doctors and nurses, giving them more time for patient care.

Mr Barclay will reveal that there are 18,600 people working in national NHS management bodies – none of which provide patient care – costing a record £1.3 billion each year.

It is more than double the 9,000 in April 2013, and 5,000 have been added since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A further 26,000 work in the NHS’s local Integrated Care Boards – again providing no patient care and costing a further £1.1 billion. A further 7,000 work in Commissioning Support Units, costing £400 million.

Steve Barclay will shine a light on ‘waste and wakery’ with the aim of clearing dead wood and moving more managers to frontline positions in NHS trusts

The findings come from an audit of all NHS governing bodies ordered by Mr Barclay on the day he became Minister of Health.

It follows the plans of his predecessor Sajid Javid, who in June ordered the NHS to cut ‘diversity and inclusion’ managers as part of a crackdown on ‘waste and wakery’. Mr Javid said their salaries of up to £115,000 would be better spent on the front lines.

In a keynote speech today, Mr Barclay will say: ‘Having so much management is a distraction for the front lines.

‘Some district nurses spend half their time on administration and the managers we have in the NHS need to work with them and help them, not create more paperwork.’

NHS England employs 10,117 of its 18,600 full-time equivalents. The other four National Governing Bodies are NHS Digital, Health Education England, the NHS Trust Development Authority and Monitor.

Mr Barclay has already announced a crackdown on the cost of management consulting and pledged to cut consultant use by up to 80 percent.

He will now launch a plan to publish detailed ‘maps’ of each national NHS body so taxpayers can see what the 18,600 workers are doing. A map from the Ministry of Health and Social Care will be published in the coming days, and the other national agencies will be asked to publish one before the end of this month.

The NHS announced in July plans to cut up to 6,000 jobs in what is now seen as a ‘starting point’.

The NHS announced in July plans to cut up to 6,000 jobs in what is now seen as a 'starting point'

The NHS announced in July plans to cut up to 6,000 jobs in what is now seen as a ‘starting point’

At the time, Amanda Pritchard, CEO of NHS England, told staff the changes would remove frustrations over ‘the complexity and bureaucracy that characterize some parts and operations of our organisation’ and save as much as £1bn. The Daily Mail revealed last month that the NHS has spent more than £1million on hundreds of ‘awakened’ staff networks at a time when it desperately needs more money for patient care.

Nearly 500 of these groups were set up by health institutions in the UK, which amounts to 36,000 staff hours per year.

Questions were also raised about the spending of NHS money when waiting lists for routine hospital treatment reached 6.7 million last month – another record high – despite a £12 billion increase funded by the increase in the national insurance tax.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers will welcome this moratorium on middle managers. Patients are sick of the money being wasted on unnecessary non-jobs, instead of funding primary care.

“The government cannot expect taxpayers to continue paying the health and social care levy to fill the pockets of backroom NHS bureaucrats.”

Fit patients in hospital for 9 months

By Xantha Leatham Science Correspondent

Patients who are medically fit to be discharged from the hospital wait up to nine months to leave, it turns out.

Experts blame shortages in care homes and more people of working age developing complex conditions that require home help.

Occupational health spokesman Wes Streeting said it was “horrific.” The disclosures follow research from the Health Service Journal, which has obtained data from seven hospital trusts.

At North Bristol Trust, one patient waited over nine months and another about eight months. Some had to wait six months at North Cumbria Integrated Care Foundation Trust and Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust. Royal United Hospitals Bath Foundation Trust reported a case lasting more than five months, while patients at Dorset County Hospital Foundation Trust, Mid Cheshire Hospitals Foundation Trust and Stockport Foundation Trust were delayed for three months or more.

More than 13,500 patients eligible for discharge are in hospital – one in seven beds. The Department of Health said it would invest an additional £5.4 billion in social care for adults over three years.

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