8 2 mins 13 yrs

It’s interesting to note that money spent by the NHS hiring agency staff to cover shifts soared by 60% over the past two years to almost £1.3 billion, according to figures uncovered by the Conservatives.

NHS hospitals paid hourly rates as high as £400 for a manager, £375 for a doctor and £146 for a nurse – the equivalent in some cases of 10 or more times the average staff pay for the same jobs. The £1.254 billion spent on agency staff in 2008/09 is almost half a billion more than the £786 million bill run-up in 2006/07, when then Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said it was “common sense” to cut back on agency workers.

Conservatives said that the sums amounted to twice the annual budget for cancer drugs and almost as much as the NHS spends on maternity services. Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said it was “unforgivable” that an estimated £300 million of NHS money ended up in the pockets of the employment agencies who take a slice of the cash.

I disagree. The employment agencies are simply providing a service and can charge what they want for doing so. What IS unforgivable is that lax NHS management presides over such shoddy worktime practises that £££millions are spent off-setting the consequences of these. Responsibility lies fairly and squarely with the NHS management and of course they are only following orders from Government.

We leave 2009 with the NHS as dysfunctional as ever, absorbing vast amounts of taxpayers cash whilst lavishing it on all the wrong areas. Can socialised health-care ever deliver value for money? No! 

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8 thoughts on “THE BOTTOMLESS PIT…

  1. Can socialised health-care ever deliver value for money? No!

    But the alternative touted by Rightworld is the great US system. This spends a greater proportion of GDP and still leaves 20% of the population without proper health cover. Hardly great value for money.

  2. Peter

    The US system is not the best alternative. Nor is it a free market system over there. Companies are prevented from competing across state lines for example which is a barrier to a free market.

    There is nothing wrong to my mind with obliging people to have health insurance with the state acting as buyer of last resort for those in genuine need. If you can afford Sky Sports you can afford health insurance.

    We are already obliged to carry car insurance. But would you want the state running the repair industry. New timing belt? How does next September suit you?

    In Ireland we screw up the health insurance business with a community rating. If you are 20 you think it costs too much so you don’t bother. If you are 70 it still costs too much because young people don’t join. If the industry was free to set its own prices it would be cheaper for everybody.

  3. Companies are prevented from competing across state lines for example which is a barrier to a free market.

    Companies can compete across state lines. Companies like Aetna and United Healthcare are available in all 50 states.

  4. Aetna CEO has himself stated that buying insurance across state lines would be desirable. So then, how does Aetna sell insurance in more than one state? I’d like YOU to explain it to ME Mr. Smarty Pants.

    In any case – the focus of this debate is wrong. The focus of the debate should be on making health care MORE AFFORDABLE for everyone, not forcing people to buy health insurance. Why is health care so expensive? In part because of government programs that underpay for everything.

    Of course insurance company CEO’s would love to have a federal law requiring everyone to purchase insurance. Their focus is ‘get everyone covered’. The sane focus should be: What can we do to make access to high quality health care more affordable? There are many things that can be done.


  5. Aetna website Health Insurance Plans and Services for Businesses

    Health plans and services for your business

    We serve employers in all 50 states. Our products and services help meet the needs of small, mid-sized, and large multi-site national businesses.

    and from the page you linked to "What I think sets Aetna apart is that we operate in all 50 states,"

  6. The point, you thick slab, lies in the answer to the question that I asked you.

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

  7. The question you asked was So then, how does Aetna sell insurance in more than one state?
    The answer is, rather easily, as evidenced by the fact that they sell insurance in all 50 states.

  8. I’m all for making health insurance more affordable, but if it is not mandatory what do we do about the moron who can afford it but who does not buy it and who then comes down with a really expensive injury or disease?

    Do we throw him in the gutter or should someone be expected pay to treat the moron? If so, who?

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