Following the article in the Times on Tuesday 13th October Medway Labour Group’s Deputy Leader and Spokesperson for Health and Adult Social Care, Councillor Teresa Murray, has written the following letter to the Times:
I write in response to Chris Smyth’s article on excessive pay for finance consultants at Medway Maritime Hospital and have been working hard to support our local hospital which has been in special measures for two years and before that, bears the scars of botched merger proposals with a neighbouring hospital which also cost millions in consultants’ fees. In common with other hospitals Medway Maritime Trust has struggled to manage a standstill budget for the last 6 years while trying to deliver decent services in poor facilities when demand is rising. I am clear that our hospital, in common with the NHS as a whole, needs more stable funding if they are to reach the standards of care required of them.
Chris Smyth’s article highlights the way that the fragility of current government funding of the NHS places hospital managers in an impossible position making them easy prey for consultants who promise a quick fix at a high cost then simply walk away with full pockets if it doesn’t work out as it seems Mr Bolot did when his work at a previous Trust failed to rescue them.
I have asked MMT how the Consultancy is being held to account because simply saying, that the consultancy can deliver 5 to 10 times their salary is not good enough especially if they simply make recommendations for cuts instead of considering how services can be improved too. The people I represent have a right to know how their money is spent and since doctors, nurses and hospital support staff have to work to published targets and are then shamed by the Inspectorate(CQC) if they don’t meet them, I want highly paid consultants to face at least the same level of scrutiny.
Medway Maritime Trust unsurprisingly, has a tough time recruiting and retaining staff, the front line work force have suffered pay restraint for five years and now a cap on agency staff costs proposed by Jeremy Hunt will further imperil their ability to climb out of special measures. It’s our NHS, we pay for it and use it when we’re ill, at the very least we have a right to know that our money is being spent wisely.
Cllr Teresa Murray – Labour Rochester East ward
Deputy leader of Medway Council Labour group and Spokes person for health and adult services”