In March, we began in investigation into a bonus culture within NHS Tayside. You can read our initial investigation into it by clicking here.
In the response received from NHS Tayside, we discovered that indeed there are bonuses paid to consultants that are not simply awarded in one year, but are permanent additions to their salaries.
It now appears that NHS bosses are also in on the act, getting similar bonuses added to their salary, contributing to their pensions and completely unrelated to ongoing performance.
Liberal Democrats investigation unearthed the matter which is reported in today’s Observer:
GPs, nurses and junior doctors are all denied access to any similar sort of compensation scheme.
Having received a reply from NHS Tayside over bonuses, these bonuses are written into the standard contracts offered to consultants across the whole of Scotland.
Bankers have been quite rightly been criticised for excessive bonuses along with Chief Executives of many companies who are earning 100 times more than their average employees. But I was shocked to discover such a bonus culture written in black and white into the contracts of NHS Tayside consultants. How can it be fair that the best paid staff in the NHS are the only ones able to get huge bonuses on top of their already very generous salaries? There does not seem to be any bonus system for staff such as nurses and porters.
In particular these ‘Distinction Awards’ are not one off bonuses, but added to consultants salary every single year and increase their pension contributions accordingly. 1 out of every 3 consultants will receive one of these awards during their career, so the system is hardly restricted to only the best and the brightest.
Even more worrying is that consultants can nominate each other or even themselves for these huge additions to their salary. It is not difficult to see such a system being quickly abused with friends nominating each other.
With money tight across the country, and frontline services in the NHS at serious risk, surely we should end the bonus culture in the NHS right now?