The NHS has spent more than £1 million on hundreds of ‘woke’ staff networks at a time when it desperately needs more cash for patient care. The Daily Mail has more.
Nearly 500 of these groups have been set up by health trusts across the U.K. – taking up around 36,000 hours of staff time a year. Despite ministers’ calls for the NHS to cut back on “waste and wokery”, some groups use taxpayers’ money to put on events around transgender issues, sexuality and racism, often held during the working day.
These have included “tea and rainbow cake” picnics, a special session about pronouns and a Filipino martial arts performance. Amid fears of an impending winter NHS crisis, the audit by the TaxPayers’ Alliance found there are now at least 493 networks across the UK health service.
These took up at least 108,807 hours of dedicated staff time over the last three years and cost the taxpayer £1,081,878 in this period.
The true figures are likely to be higher as only 111 out of more than 230 trusts responded to Freedom of Information requests. They only cover time spent running the groups, not attending them.
It is feared the NHS is heading for another crisis this winter as it faces seasonal pressures and a post-Covid backlog in treatment.
Despite the National Insurance hike to raise funds and help clear the backlog, waiting lists have hit record highs. This week, the precarious state of emergency care was laid bare when one woman was forced to wait 40 hours for an ambulance. Last night, critics suggested taxpayers would be angered by the scale of NHS spending on ‘right-on’ causes.
Elliot Keck, Investigations Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Many of the networks are a questionable use of NHS time and taxpayers’ money. While Brits wait patiently for their appointments and operations, NHS middle managers are busy organising right-on lectures and social events. Health chiefs need to scale back some of these unnecessary ‘woke’ networks.”
Worth reading in full.