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Then there’s the Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, which runs three acute hospitals. Management costs increased 7 per cent last year, to £9 million. Reporting to 10 board directors are a corporate development director (£85-90,000), a chief operating officer (£155-160,000), as well as a chief executive (£190-195,000).

Serving the trusts is another – the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust. It has 13 directors, including a director of corporate affairs and service development (£90-95,000) and a director of human resources and organisational development (£105-110,000). Management costs are £10 million, 6.6 per cent of income, and rose 25 per cent in 2008-09.

But the queen quango of them all is our Strategic Health Authority, NHS South East Coast. It has 14 directors, including a director of communications and engagement who was paid £125-130,000 last year. In 2008-09, its budget was so large – at £313 million – that it couldn’t spend £40 million. Management costs rose 30 per cent, to £16.8 million. Employing 343 staff cost £20 million a year.

So what do they do for us in Sevenoaks at their HQ in Horley, Surrey?

Given that the Primary Care Trusts are much larger now, why is there a layer of bureaucracy between them and Whitehall?

The hospital building programme has passed its peak; the trusts have been reorganised; there are numerous regulators, inspectorates and commissions. So what is there strategic to do?

NHS South East Coast’s report boasts a string of successes, including reducing infection, speeding up treatment times and extending GPs’ opening times. But these improvements are delivered by local professionals, not regional bureaucrats. The Strategic Health Authority even claims credit for the Ambulance Trust’s improvement in response times: that’s because we spend £150 million on the latter, not the former. So what’s a strategic health authority for?

Let’s look at that under-spend again. £1.5 million was under-spent on “workforce and development”; £5.6 million (62 per cent of budget) was under-spent on “sponsored services”; £11.4 million (55 per cent) under-spent on “strategic health authority central initiatives”.

If regional bureaucrats can’t even spend the money they have got, why not delegate it straight through to the trusts? There is simply too much management right across the NHS, most of it duplicating, interfering or counter-productive, and all of it diverting resources from the hard-pressed units and nurses who treat real people.

Andy Burnham has inherited this nightmare, but it’s too late for Labour to roll back the bureaucratic monster it created. Exactly half of the entire 1.3 million NHS workforce isn’t treating patients. The real questions are for the Conservative shadow health secretary:
Andrew Lansley, are you listening?

Michael Fallon is Conservative MP for Sevenoaks.

The original article published: Here

First, there’s the West Kent NHS Primary Care Trust. It has 21 directors, and “around” 350 “commissioning” staff; management costs are £12 million a year. Its accounts reveal a director of strategy and corporate affairs, whose pay last year rose from £90-95,000 to £95-100,000, and a director of strategy and communications, whose pay went up by 10 per cent to £85-90,000. All executive directors received a 3 per cent bonus.

Next, there’s the Kent & Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, which is mainly responsible for mental health services. Fifteen directors here, including a “director of corporate services” on £75-80,000 a year. Management costs are £11 million.