East Lancs NHS chiefs defend £500k spent on public relations and equality departments

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: East Lancs NHS chiefs defend £500k spent on public relations and equality departments East Lancs NHS chiefs defend £500k spent on public relations and equality departments

NHS chiefs have hit back after a campaign group accused them of wasting more than £500,000 on unnecessary jobs which have ‘nothing to do with frontline care’.

Most of the cash went on press and communications officers, with the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) the biggest spender among organisations serving East Lancashire, according to 2013 figures published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA).

The ‘Unnecessary Jobs in the NHS’ report said NWAS spent more than £244,000 on six public relations staff last year. Despite having much larger annual budgets than NWAS, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) told the Lancashire Telegraph they spend about £177,000 and £95,000 respectively.

All three of the trusts said the TPA figures were inaccurate or out-of-date, but only Lancashire Care and ELHT provided their current figures. An NWAS press officer claimed she could not provide the details in time for our deadline, saying the answer could only be given through a Freedom of Information request, which is a legal process which takes up to 21 days.

She added: “The trust does not agree with the Taxpayers’ Alliance view that jobs are unnecessary because they have the word ‘communication’ or ‘equality’ in the title.

“The communications team is required to deal with a wide range of activities including MP and local authority enquiries, responding to media enquiries, public events, educational campaigns and ensuring our workforce is kept up to date with trust activities, new operational instructions and news.”

Sue Moore, chief operating officer at Lancashire Care said: “The remit of these roles extends far beyond managing media relations to providing patient information leaflets, running campaigns to improve the health of local communities and the provision of web based information for their patients and the public to access and to also meet the requirements set out by the Freedom of Information Act.

“Communication teams also provide effective internal communications which supports staff engagement.”

But Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TPA, said: “Taxpayers expect the health budget to be spent on real doctors, not spin doctors. The NHS employs far too many people in jobs that do nothing to deliver frontline patient care.”

Comments (7)

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10:43am Mon 7 Apr 14

Sue Lee says...

Who funds the Tax Payers Alliance? Why isn't there a Tax Avoidance Alliance?
Who funds the Tax Payers Alliance? Why isn't there a Tax Avoidance Alliance? Sue Lee
  • Score: 2

10:50am Mon 7 Apr 14

Izanears says...

An NHS official denying that spending £500k on useless jobs is like a fishmonger saying his fish doesn't stink. They have to justify it to justify their own jobs. Money should be on FRONT LINE services, not wasted on publicity/communicat
ion.
An NHS official denying that spending £500k on useless jobs is like a fishmonger saying his fish doesn't stink. They have to justify it to justify their own jobs. Money should be on FRONT LINE services, not wasted on publicity/communicat ion. Izanears
  • Score: 13

11:50am Mon 7 Apr 14

shytalk says...

It's a disgrace when they can get away with it. At the same time making 500 people redundant, then re employing them via employment agencies on Zero hours contracts that cost a hell of a lot more.
It's time these so called managers were all sacked.
It's a disgrace when they can get away with it. At the same time making 500 people redundant, then re employing them via employment agencies on Zero hours contracts that cost a hell of a lot more. It's time these so called managers were all sacked. shytalk
  • Score: 11

11:56am Mon 7 Apr 14

mavrick says...

I think the TPA have jumped the gun a little on this one. staff are needed for communication and publicity work. perhaps it could be coordinated better from a central position. The NWAS assured people last year that cutting the number of staff and ambulances to save money would not have a detrimental effect on service. WRONG. will the senior management of the NWAS now kindly resign. I some how don't think so.
I think the TPA have jumped the gun a little on this one. staff are needed for communication and publicity work. perhaps it could be coordinated better from a central position. The NWAS assured people last year that cutting the number of staff and ambulances to save money would not have a detrimental effect on service. WRONG. will the senior management of the NWAS now kindly resign. I some how don't think so. mavrick
  • Score: 6

1:35pm Mon 7 Apr 14

vicn1956 says...

They just don't get it-STILL!!
They just don't get it-STILL!! vicn1956
  • Score: 3

1:40pm Mon 7 Apr 14

olister2k says...

does anyone else remember the Episode of Yes Minister, where there was a 500 bed hospital still not opened, with no patients but had hundreds of administrative staff and they were threatening to strike?? The LT story is just like something from Britain of 1970. Managers should be communicating with staff, not 'communications departments'. Its utterly shambolic and non- jobs for the boys (and girls).
does anyone else remember the Episode of Yes Minister, where there was a 500 bed hospital still not opened, with no patients but had hundreds of administrative staff and they were threatening to strike?? The LT story is just like something from Britain of 1970. Managers should be communicating with staff, not 'communications departments'. Its utterly shambolic and non- jobs for the boys (and girls). olister2k
  • Score: 5

5:08pm Mon 7 Apr 14

ConcernedOssy says...

Just what's needed, NOT ! Yet another example of the Lunatics running the Asylum unfortunately the tax payer foots the bill as usual This lot really need OUT ! !
Just what's needed, NOT ! Yet another example of the Lunatics running the Asylum unfortunately the tax payer foots the bill as usual This lot really need OUT ! ! ConcernedOssy
  • Score: 1

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