June 2024

Are all NHS managers incompetent? Or just most of them?

Having given up after waiting almost two hours for a blood test at Christchurch Hospital Trust yesterday, I’d like to return to a theme regular readers are probably tired of – the utter uselessness of our NHS management.

When recidivist liar and (IMHO) war criminal Tony Blair and his idiotic, economically-illiterate chancellor Gordon Brown were elected in 1997, there were around 25,000 managers in the NHS in England and Wales and around 200,000 hospital beds. That’s about 8 beds per manager.

By the time Blair had gone off to enrich himself by advising some of the world’s most brutal dictators and the financially-incontinent Brown was deservedly booted out in 2010, the NHS management army had grown to about 43,000 and the number of hospital beds had fallen to about 140,000 – about 3.2 beds per manager:

Hospital beds per manager

Seldom in the history of organisational incompetence has there been such a collapse in management ‘productivity’.

So, what’s happened since the lavish spending glory days of New Labour?

On the plus side, the number of NHS managers has been reduced from 43,000 to around 35,000 (still 40% higher than in 1997) and the fall in bed numbers has slowed.

Yippeee!!!! This shows that NHS managers are performing better, doesn’t it?

Well, not really.

There’s another figure that could be of interest – the amount of our money our supposedly cash-strapped NHS spends on management consultants to teach NHS managers how to do the jobs for which we already pay them vast sums and give them the kind of generous pensions most of us could only dream of.

In 2010, the NHS in England and Wales splashed out a ‘mere’ £313m on management consultants. That’s around £7,300 of our money on management consultancy help for each NHS manager. By the end of the coalition, thanks to the buffoon Andrew Lansley’s NHS ludicrously unnecessary and expensive NHS reorganisation, NHS spending on management consultants had shot up to £640m a year – a staggering £18,300 of management consultancy help each year for each and every NHS manager. And still most of them haven’t a clue what they are doing.

Oh, and here are some international comparisons which will hopefully reveal that the NHS is not (as our rulers like to claim) ‘the envy of the world’.

  • The UK had 2.8 physicians per 1,000 people in 2015, compared to 4.1 in Germany (2014), 3.9 in Italy (2014), 3.8 in Spain (2014), 3.5 in Australia (2014), 3.4 in France, 3.0 in New Zealand and 2.6 in Canada (2014).

And here’s how the NHS compares on hospital beds per 100,000 of the population:


Ooops!!! Not so great! Still, at least we’re better than countries like bankrupt Portugal, bankrupt Spain and the *sl*mofascist dictatorship of Turkey. (Having lived in Denmark, I’m slightly surprised by how few hospital beds the Danes have. But I’d still much rather be treated in a spotlessly clean Danish hospital, than a filthy, Third-World English one)

Moreover, in addition to having fewer doctors and fewer hospital beds than most developed and semi-developed countries, the NHS managed to squander over £2bn of our money in redundancy and early pension payoffs to managers who immediately rejoined the NHS at similar or higher salaries and pension benefits to those they enjoyed in their previous jobs.

So, next time NHS bosses start bleating about being short of cash, it’s a lie, it always has been a lie and it always will be a lie. The NHS gets more money and wastes more money with every year that passes.

Our ‘beloved’ NHS is the BBC of healthcare – clinically obese, inefficient and stuffed full of worthless, self-serving bureaucrats only interested in their own salaries, benefits, positions and pensions.

1 comment to Are all NHS managers incompetent? Or just most of them?

  • MGJ

    You can add to that the fact that otherwise productive people such as GPS are now required to waste vast amounts of time on management. Constant meetings about the latest “initiative”, ElfnSafety, IT, recruitment, employee rights, collating QoF data, accounting and legal stuff, dealing with frivolous complaints from money grabbers, providing translation services, immigration and welfare advice, staff appraisals…etc. No wonder you can never get an appointment!

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