NHS Tayside should provide detailed information about bonuses paid to high earners in the NHS. My family are able to use the services provided by NHS Tayside but it is clear to me that budgets are under pressure. Concerns have been expressed to me by people in Angus about their local service provision.
It seems there is a breakdown in the relationship between GPs and the Angus Community Health Partnership over the consultation process on hospital provision in North Angus. Residents are concerned about the loss of GP beds at Brechin and Montrose infirmaries. Worries about future hospital provision are centred on budgets.
For example, in Montrose, the replacement for the maternity unit has been put on hold. Another worry centres on Arbroath: the date has still to be indicated for the new car park at Arbroath Infirmary, and given the budgetary pressures, there are concerns that this might be delayed.
There have quite rightly been complaints about the bonuses paid to bankers. However it is also increasingly evident that a bonus system exists for consultants in the NHS. I have written to Professor Tony Wells of NHS Tayside, asking him to provide the public in Angus with detailed information about the system. I have put the following questions to the Chief Executive:
1. What is the justification for the Merit Awards / Discretionary payments (i.e bonus system) in NHS Tayside?
2. Can doctors nominate themselves for awards?
3. Who judges whether or not someone gets an award?
4. At what level of job are these awards given? Is it only consultants and above?
5. How much is an award worth?
6. What is the difference between the merit and the discretionary award?
7. Are these one-off awards or are they a permanent addition to salary?
8. What effect does an award have on the recipient’s pension?
9. What is the hourly rate of pay for out-of-hours doctors?
With threats to NHS budgets due to the recession, it is vital that we ensure that salaries and bonuses within the NHS are fair and open at all pay levels, from nurses and administrators, through to consultants and surgeons.