Upon opening my newspaper last week I was confronted by two headlines which typify public services within the UK. Firstly, there have been ‘38% pay rises for top NHS bosses’. This is absurd given the current economic situation and the government’s fiscal marginality. But, this was coupled by the second headline that the ‘NHS is worse than Estonia for care’. I’m not saying that Estonia is an underdeveloped, backward country, but I doubt their healthcare bosses receive the wages that ours do.
There is no sense in NHS bosses being given such a large pay rise, especially when many others are beginning to feel the strain of the looming recession. It is hypocritical that these massive pay rises for senior officers come from the same government that heavily criticised the investments banks for giving large bonuses to their staff. It could not even be said that these pay rises are ‘performance related’- we are rated 13th for healthcare in Europe, well below our similarly wealthy neighbours.
This extra government expenditure has been poorly spent and shows a lack of regard for the efficiency of the NHS. On average, nurses and ancillary staff were only given a 1.9% wage increase. In order to boost the quality of healthcare within the NHS, we need extra nurses and medical staff rather than a growth in managers and extra bureaucracy.
The solution to the inefficiencies of healthcare in the UK is greater privatisation. This would encourage waste to be reduced and competition would encourage firms to improve the quality of their service in order to increase revenue. Privatisation would also see firms giving greater incentives to medical staff and nurses who have a real impact on patient care, rather than on middle management.
In order to improve our healthcare to levels above that of Estonia, we need more effective strategies than simply pumping cash into the failing NHS.