Num­ber of NHS man­agers ris­ing faster than nurses

Daily Mail - - Life - By Ben Spencer Med­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

HOS­PI­TALS are hiring soar­ing num­bers of NHS man­agers while nurse and GP re­cruit­ment falls, a damn­ing re­port re­veals.

In the past three years the num­ber of man­agers em­ployed in Eng­land has in­creased 11 per cent, while the num­ber of nurses and mid­wives has risen by just 1.6 per cent, the Health Foun­da­tion think-tank found.

But the in­crease in man­agers ac­cel­er­ated last year, with the to­tal ris­ing 4.3 per cent be­tween April 2016 and April 2017 – as nurs­ing num­bers be­gan to fall.

Over those 12 months the num­ber of nurses and health vis­i­tors dropped by 0.2 per cent, and com­mu­nity nurses by 2.9 per cent.

And in the past three years the num­ber of GPs fell 2.3 per cent, while the over­all to­tal for doc­tors rose by just 3 per cent – a far slower rate than for man­agers.

Tory min­is­ters have re­peat­edly pledged to cut back on ‘ex­ces­sive bu­reau­cracy’ in the health ser­vice. But de­spite cut­ting thou­sands of NHS man­agers after tak­ing power in 2010, the Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment has seen num­bers ‘bounc­ing back’, the re­port said.

Crit­ics last night called the fig­ures an ‘em­bar­rass­ing fail­ure’. The re­port said: ‘ One group that ap­pears to be buck­ing the trend in fall­ing staff num­bers are those de­fined as man­agers … The num­ber of man­agers and se­nior man­agers in the NHS in Eng­land has been in­creas­ing since 2015.’

The health ser­vice in Eng­land em­ploys the equiv­a­lent of 1.05mil­lion full- time staff, in­clud­ing 306,000 nurses, mid­wives and health vis­i­tors, 106,000 hospi­tal doc­tors and GPs, and 31,000 man­agers. NHS fig­ures last month re­vealed ba­sic pay for se­nior man­agers has risen by 15 per cent since 2010 – three times the 5 per cent rise given to the av­er­age nurse.

Baroness Ju­dith Jolly, Lib Dem health spokesman, said: ‘Jeremy Hunt promised to re­duce bu­reau­cracy in the NHS, but the num­ber of man­agers is still go­ing up.

‘This is an em­bar­rass­ing fail­ure. Peo­ple will rightly ques­tion why more money is be­ing spent on NHS bu­reau­cracy when front­line ser­vices are so over­stretched.’

The re­port said in some trusts 30 per cent of staff are leav­ing ev­ery year. The Health Foun­da­tion’s Anita Charleswor­th said: ‘There is a grow­ing gap be­tween rhetoric about the Gov­ern­ment’s am­bi­tions to grow the NHS work­force, and the re­al­ity of fall­ing num­bers of nurses and GPs.’ She urged the Gov­ern­ment to put in place a ‘co­her­ent strat­egy to pro­vide a sus­tain­able work­force’.

Janet Davies, of the Royal Col­lege of Nurs­ing, said: ‘The drop in the num­ber of nurses this year is deeply wor­ry­ing, and par­tic­u­larly dam­ag­ing when nurses are hav­ing to cope with ris­ing num­bers of pa­tients.’

A Depart­ment of Health spokesman said there were still 5,600 fewer man­agers in the NHS than in 2010 and ‘ more ded­i­cated

‘Em­bar­rass­ing fail­ure’

front­line staff on the wards than ever be­fore’.

÷Hos­pi­tals are fail­ing to en­sure the safety of pa­tients in their care, the NHS med­i­cal di­rec­tor warned. Pro­fes­sor Sir Bruce Keogh said safety mea­sures of­ten do not fil­ter down be­cause the NHS is made up of hun­dreds of or­gan­i­sa­tions.

He called for a cen­tral sys­tem to over­see safety, but told the Sun­day Tele­graph clar­ity was needed on when a rec­om­men­da­tion ‘should over­ride fi­nan­cial con­sid­er­a­tions’.

A Depart­ment of Health spokesman said set­ting up a Healthcare Safety In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch was ‘our next step’.

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