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NHS Administrative Costs

Volume 517: debated on Tuesday 2 November 2010

We are cutting management costs in the NHS by 45%. We will cut total administrative costs as well, and in total that will save £1.9 billion a year by 2015.

I thank the Secretary of State. I recently spent a morning in my constituency with local paramedics and was shocked to learn that the very best paramedic can earn just one tenth of that earned by the highest-paid NHS manager. What steps is my right hon. Friend taking to address those skewed priorities?

My hon. Friend will be aware that we in the Department and across government have invited Will Hutton to examine pay differentials in public services, and we have talked to him about precisely that. In my hon. Friend’s area, the earnings of a qualified member of ambulance staff would be about £37,000 on average, which of course is only about a sixth of the highest pay of an NHS manager.

Past reorganisations of the national health service have taken years to embed and affected performance negatively, and history suggests that, given the scale of the reorganisations in the White Paper, they will be no exception. Can the Secretary of State tell us how much the administrative costs of the changes will be?

Perhaps I can remind the right hon. Gentleman that the major part of the reorganisation is to eliminate strategic health authorities and primary care trusts, to focus resources on the front line, to get them into the hands of those who are responsible for delivering care and, in the process, to deliver £1.9 billion a year of savings on administration costs.