Committee of Public Accounts Press Notice

A STATEMENT FROM EDWARD LEIGH MP

CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

National Audit Office report: Pay modernisation: A new contract for NHS consultants in England

A new consultants’ contract was needed. But the bottom line is that the Department of Health has increased consultants’ salaries without demonstrating any extra productivity in return. And patients have yet to see tangible improvements to their care.

Consultants in England are now being paid on average a quarter more than three years ago, but they are working either the same number of hours or less.

This is one more example of weak financial management by the Department of Health. It drove through the new pay deal with scant regard for proper evidence and solid financial forecasting.

What’s more, the Department didn’t really communicate to the NHS what it wanted from the contract. As a result trusts focused their energy on getting the contract in place rather than keeping in view what the contract was meant to achieve and what it would cost overall.

The Department recognises that, by 2005, the contract had cost the taxpayer an extra £150 million. Many trusts have told the NAO that the extra £150 million still did not fully meet the cost of implementing the new contract, thereby putting them under more pressure. And furthermore, this additional pressure will remain year on year.

Notes for Editors

Requests for further comment from Edward Leigh should be made via Alex Paterson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 1589 or 07917 488488.