Fat Cats

Anyone old enough to enjoy the original series of “Top Cat” will realise that I am not referring to Benny the Ball. Every so often the newspapers pick up on yet another vast salary or payout hidden within the depths of the NHS and I have read of another in the FPM headlines recently.

The CEO of an underperforming eastern ambulance trust earning well over £230k. Despite the under-performing Trust he now has two combined jobs and a £50k rise. How come I never seem to see a vacancy like that?

A statement for both trusts said: “For the combined work his salary has been increased by £50,000, saving the taxpayer approximately £130,000 on the cost of a having a substantive chief executive in each ambulance trust.”

I had to stifle an incredulous derogatory comment, as I was in polite company when I read the attempt at justification by the powers that be, in the face of rising criticism and comparison to bankers’ salaries, with a claim that it was good value for money for the taxpayer. At least bankers make money for someone, usually. Better value would be to pay two CEOs £80,000 each to do two jobs, thus saving another £70k. It is hard to see what a £230k CEO does that an experienced and competent £80k manager could not do, maybe better. There are plenty out there.

It’s not just this story. These seem to come out of the woodwork on a regular basis, but die down just as quick. If the government is serious about patients owning the NHS it’s past time to whittle these issues out and exercise some lasting control.


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