Lansley should explain why he is wasting money on adverts instead of improving care for patients - Healey

John Healey MPJohn Healey, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, commenting on the news that the NHS is taking out full-page adverts in a Newcastle newspaper to sell the Government’s reorganisation, said:
 
“It is a disgrace that NHS money is being wasted on propaganda to sell the Government’s controversial reorganisation – that Parliament has still not approved – while services are being cut back and more people are waiting longer for treatment.
 
“Andrew Lansley should explain why he is wasting money on adverts instead of improving care for patients.”
 
John Healey has written to Andrew Lansley demanding an explanation for the propaganda and that no more public money be spent on such advertising.

John Healey MP, further commenting on new figures showing the £228m cost of the NHS reorganisation in the last year, said:
 
“People will be shocked at the scale of wasted cost due to David Cameron’s reckless NHS upheaval.
 
“The last year has been a wasted year for the NHS, with services being cut back and long waiting times returning to the NHS. Meanwhile money for patient care is being wasted on pay-offs, management consultants and sending doctors to meetings.
 
“People will ask why highly trained GPs are being paid £100 an hour to go to meetings rather than see their patients. This isn’t why they joined the NHS.
 
“Experienced NHS staff are being paid up to a year’s salary to leave the NHS, but David Cameron has admitted that he doesn’t know how many of them will be re-hired in one of his new quangos.
 
“The Tory-led Government is wasting precious resources is before the Bill has even been passed by Parliament. This is not what people expected when David Cameron said he would protect the NHS.”


Ends

Notes to editors:
 
1 The Health Service Journal has today published results of a Freedom of Information survey of the NHS reorganisation to mark one year since the publication of the White Paper. The HSJ estimates “at least” £228 million has been spent between July 2010 and June 2011 on ‘transition’ to the new NHS structure. This includes:
·    £151.6 million on pay-offs for people working in Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities.
·    £47.2 million spending by PCTs and SHAs on management consultancy, organisational design, training and other support.
·    £28.7 million on payments for GP meeting attendance and other involvement.
http://www.hsj.co.uk/news/finance/commissioning-reform-costs-already-near-quarter-of-a-billion/5032783.article (£)
 
2 Other research by the HSJ has found that the average pay-off for PCT managers was £18,196 through the Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme, or £19,552 through redundancy. The MARS scheme pays people up to a year’s salary to leave their jobs.
 
http://www.hsj.co.uk/news/workforce/commissioning-brain-drain-stripping-assets/5032464.article (£)
 
3. ‘Advertorials’ in the Newcastle Journal have been paid for by the NHS to spread the Government’s . The cost of one full page colour advert in the Journal is £5,877.90.
 

4. Text of John’s letter to Andrew Lansley:
 
Dear Andrew
 
Propaganda at tax-payers’ and patients’ expense
 
I enclose a copy of a full page advertisement that is printed in today’s Newcastle Press & Journal, promoting the bureaucratic reorganisation you are forcing through the NHS.
 
At a time when you have put a block on public health information campaigns, can you confirm:
 
Who authorised public expenditure on this propaganda for your Government’s NHS policies, when Parliament has not yet approved and may still change them?
 
How much has this advertisement cost?
 
In how many other areas has such tax-payer funded propaganda been run?
 
Will you guarantee that no more public money, that could and should be spent on patient care or on public health information campaigns, will be spent on such advertising?
 
I look forward to your response directly.
 
Yours ever,
 
John