'Life bonuses' for NHS consultants criticised13th October 2010
The BBC has discovered that health service consultants are being paid considerable bonuses despite deteriorating performances at work.
NHS loopholes mean that over half of the 36,000 consultants in England are given "lifetime" bonuses on top of their annual average salaries of £89,400.
The bonus scheme, which is being reviewed at the moment, can earn the top performers up to £75,000 a year.
The scheme, which has 16 different levels of bonuses, was created when the health service was set up in 1948. The awards range from £2,957 to £75,889, and 19,892 consultants were given bonuses in England, according to recent data.
The costs of paying out the bonuses is around £200 million annually, with more than 5,100 consultants being paid £35,854 or over.
Professor Alan Maynard, an expert in health policy at York University, was chairman of a local NHS trust for 12 years and was a member of the committee that gave out the bonuses.
He said: "They never get stopped, once they have them they have them for their lifetime. The system needs completely changing."
"The applicants provide very little information, but you can't spend the money on anything else as it is earmarked for these awards. I would have preferred to spend it on providing more care."
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Title: 'Life bonuses' for NHS consultants criticised
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 16372
Date Added: 13th Oct 2010