NHS Improvement has sent a letter to NHS chiefs pointing out that some of the contractors and temporary staff were earning twice the amount of money that full-time employees were earning, and in some cases the stand-in staff were receiving a premium of up to £2,000 a day.
The NHS regulator has made it very clear that these high payments by NHS trusts will not be tolerated, especially if the payments are made to temporary bosses who are not sufficiently qualified to receive this special treatment.
The warning letter was penned by NHS Improvement Chief Executive Jim Mackey. He wrote that the NHS trusts have got into the habit of making large payments to certain NHS contractors without being able to justify the reason for them.
The letter stated that in certain cases, it was observed that the NHS bosses’ skills were questionable and therefore the high pay rates were not justified. Mackey’s letter also added that NHS contractors who were receiving over £750 a day would need to get approval from the NHS regulator.
The letter also issued a warning about coming to a payment arrangement. Mackey wrote that such arrangements could be used by the receiver as a way to avoid paying taxes. This, he pointed out, was unfair not just to other NHS staff but also to the taxpayers.
One analysis has found that temporary financial directors in NHS trusts were receiving a daily payment of up to £1,800 a day. This is twice the amount that permanent financial directors receive.
In another statement, Mackey pointed out that the NHS has highly committed and skilled staff who are more than willing to take on responsibility when a hospital or trust is going through a tough time. However, when it comes to hiring interim directors, NHS trusts should ensure that they possess the adequate skills.