NHS management costs rises by millions

THE cost of Suffolk NHS managers rose by millions of pounds in the last year - despite the county's health service facing crippling debts, it was revealed today.

THE cost of Suffolk NHS managers rose by millions of pounds in the last year - despite the county's health service facing crippling debts, it was revealed today.

Management costs have increased significantly at Ipswich Hospital, West Suffolk Hospital and Suffolk Primary Care Trust, according to their annual reports.

NHS chiefs claimed some of the rises were due to one-off redundancy payments and that they were still on track to cut the amount spent on management.

But health campaigners criticised the increases, which follow job losses, cutbacks and community hospital closures in the county.

Management costs at Suffolk PCT have increased by 22 per cent to £12.8million in the last financial year - despite pledges that they would be slashed by 20pc.

Ipswich Hospital has also spent more on managers during the last financial year - increasing by 11pc -while West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, spent £6.8m - an extra nine per cent.

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It comes after the region's Strategic Health Authority (SHA) said its management costs had increased by a massive £30.5m - 94pc, which it blamed on pay-offs in the NHS shake-up.

Roy Gray, who fought to save the now-closed Bartlet Hospital in Felixstowe, said: “My reaction is that it's completely wrong, when you think of the debts the trusts all have and the cutbacks that have led to the closure of wards, a reduction in staff and a reduction in operations.”

Julian Herbert, director of finance and performance for Suffolk PCT, said: “Most of the additional costs were because we needed to ensure that we had enough people to effectively run the four former PCTs and that staff were paid properly under new national arrangements.

“During 2006-7, the four former PCTs - Suffolk Coastal, Ipswich, Central Suffolk and Suffolk West - were required to put in place people to run them better.

“Equally, the national Agenda for Change policy saw an increase in the amount of back-pay for staff and changes in the way directors are now paid. The merger of the four PCTs will allow significant management cost savings to be made.”

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said: “While the management costs increased by £829,000 if you express that as a proportion of the income it is 4.48pc, which is the same as last year.

“There are one-off costs in the management costs as part of our major financial recovery programme. If you take these off, the difference is £264,000, which represents 3.6pc of the income. This is below the 4.5pc increase in pay awards and Agenda for Change. So in real terms it has reduced.”

Linda Potter, director of finance at West Suffolk Hospital, said it too was “actually spending less” as a percentage of its income.

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