Costs spiral at NHS Suffolk

SUFFOLK: Management costs at NHS Suffolk have risen by �3million in the last year, it emerged today.

SUFFOLK: Management costs at NHS Suffolk have risen by �3million in the last year, it emerged today.

NHS Suffolk, the county's primary care trust (PCT), also awarded chief executive Carole Taylor-Brown a �25,000 bonus for 2008-09 - bumping up her salary to �155-160,000.

Last night, MPs and health campaigners said it was an unjustifiable use of public money and called for those resources to be ploughed into frontline services.

But Julian Herbert, director of finances at NHS Suffolk, said the costs were below the East of England average and represented only 1.9per cent of its total spend on healthcare in 2008-09.

The figures, buried in NHS Suffolk's annual report, show how management costs have risen 25 per cent from 11.7million in 2007-08 to 14.7million in 2008-09. This equates to a �4.31 increase per head of the county's population.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer said: “It is unbelievable. In the private sector, management costs have fallen sharply over the last year. We are in the worst recession since the 1920s and they are increasing their overheads.

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“The �3million could go a long way towards providing proper heart care at Ipswich Hospital and improving doctors' surgeries.”

Prue Rush, who campaigns for better services in Suffolk, added: “NHS Suffolk is already top-heavy with administrators administrating the administrators. We don't need more administrators.

This paper also revealed in August how there had been a massive increase in the number of NHS managers in the region, with an extra 274 working in 2008 while the number of GP practice nurses fell.

The increase in management has forced NHS Suffolk to spend more than �500,000 buying and converting a farm near its Bramford headquarters into a car park for its ballooning staff numbers.

Mr Herbert said the investment in management meant NHS Suffolk could provide better and more efficient services.

He said auditors had judged NHS Suffolk the best PCT in the East of England for its use of public and financial services. He said the organisation handled the biggest budget in the region, but did so with the smallest workforce.

He added: “In 2008-09, spending on healthcare services in Suffolk has increased by some �49.7 million - an increase of 6.9per cent.”

About 130 nurses

20 hospital consultants

50 GPs

500 hip replacements

4,200 cataract operations

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