A good way to assess the state of any large organisation is to look at their current vacancies. Are they recruiting high calibre people? Are there many current vacancies? If so - why?
There is no easier way to feel the temperature of the NHS than the Health Services Journal, an industry publication that always prints the most up to date news and opinion but is also the first port of call for management and senior clinical posts within the public healthcare sector.
So it was quite an eye opener a couple of weeks ago to see 9 posts advertised by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB). The title of each regional post is Local Area Team Director. The salary? £140,000 p.a. Alongside the ten regional director posts there are an additional 10 senior posts advertised with annual salaries ranging from £102,500 to £140,000 p.a. These jobs included ‘Director of Insight’ and ‘Director of Intelligence’
The adverts all start with the same introduction ‘With a passionate commitment to secure the best possible outcomes for patients, the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) will play a critical role in the modernisation of the health service driven by a new clinically-led commissioning system’
The invitation to apply continues with. ‘Priority will be given to applications from employees in the NHS, Department of Health and Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) who are affected by change or who are at risk of redundancy’
A quick calculation to include employment costs shows that these 19 posts alone will be costing the NHSCB over £3 million every year.
Yes one could argue that it is commendable that the NHS is aiming to recruit high calibre individuals for a very responsible job. Yes, you could argue that it’s right and proper to employ those who had held similar posts before. Yes it’s good to give people who have been made redundant due to the disbanding of Primary Care Trusts and other organisation previously involved with commissioning.
As so many of us have been saying all along. The reform of the commissioning process means that the same people will be doing similar jobs but with different paymasters. Many of these may well have enjoyed generous redundancy payments and can now walk into another, similar job. The other, not so lucky individuals who have been earning considerably less, but are knowledgeable, competent and experienced will have left the NHS for good, taking their intellectual capital with them. A costly excercise all round.
It’s all nonsense really isn’t it?