£20k a week paid by NHS for a doctor19th March 2012
The Sunday Telegraph has found that the NHS is hiring some doctors at a pay rate of £20,000 per week because of European laws.
The paper said agency doctors were being employed so that hospitals could meet working regulations set out in the European Working Time Directive.
The directive places a limit on the number of hours a doctor can work and the investigation found that some doctors could earn the "equivalent...annual salary of £1 million".
The investigation discovered that trusts have spent over £2 billion on temporary staff since the directive came into force.
The paper said 80% of the hospitals which gave them information spent over £1,000 per shift on cover.
A surgeon was hired at the cost of £20,000 a week at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust. A doctor was paid £5,667 for a 24-hour shift in a casualty unit at the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
Professor Norman Williams, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said the figures revealed by the investigation were were "extraordinary".
He said: "These payments amount to close to £1 million a year to cover one post. They cannot be justified and they are not sustainable."
He added: "We are hearing reports that when a consultant retires, trusts are taking a knee-jerk reaction, deciding they won’t fill the post, because they don’t want to commit to the future, and instead they are spending far more on agency rates."
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Title: £20k a week paid by NHS for a doctor
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 21420
Date Added: 19th Mar 2012