The figures come as a record 6.4 million people – one in nine of the population – are on waiting lists, with record trolley waits in Accident & Emergency departments.
And it follows concern that an extra £12 billion a year funding boost, funded by a 1.25% National Insurance hike, which came in last month, will be swallowed on management salaries, instead of clearing the backlogs.
The new analysis shows that the number of officials working in the Department of Health and NHS England has more than doubled in two years, with even sharper rises seen at the most senior levels. Meanwhile the number of nurses rose by just 7%, thinktank the Policy Exchange found. Its experts said the trends showed an “astonishing” explosion in central bureaucracy, calling for an urgent review and action to slim down and streamline its workings.
The findings come ahead of a review of leadership in the NHS by a former army general. Sir Gordon Messenger has been sent in by Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, amid concern over the quality of management in the NHS as the service faces the biggest backlogs in its history. The general has been asked to stamp out “waste and wokery” in the health service and ensure “every pound is well spent”.
The analysis shows that the total pay bill at the Government department and central body in charge of the NHS has doubled in the two years since February 2020, from £42 million to £83 million.
The workforce of the bodies rose from 7,883 to 14,515 over the period, with the number of senior officials rising by 125%.
Even these figures exclude health agencies – such as the U.K. Health Security Agency – and its predecessor Public Health England, which expanded during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the nursing workforce rose by just 7% – from 298,632 to 319,808, despite desperate shortages of frontline staff.
It comes as Boris Johnson orders a Civil Service cull, with 91,000 jobs due to go in order to cut costs by £3.5 billion…
The report shows some of the steepest rises in bureaucracy come at the top of the health bodies. The figures show a 130% increase in senior roles at NHS England in just two years, while the senior headcount at the Department of Health doubled.
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