Health bosses paid a fortune to make CUTS affecting Bedford Hospital

12/09/13 New GV's of Bedford Hospital'Bedford Hospital PNL-170102-114239001
12/09/13 New GV's of Bedford Hospital'Bedford Hospital PNL-170102-114239001

Fat cat health bosses are being paid ‘eye watering’ salaries in order to CUT services to patients in Bedford, experts have claimed.

The British Medical Association this week lashed out at the multi million pound cost of the local STP review to link Bedford, Milton Keynes and Luton health services.

They claimed the BLMK team had created 19 jobs at a total cost of £974,000 a year.

These posts include SEVEN ‘programme directors’ and ‘joint programme directors’.

BLMK’s combined salary bill would pay for up to 50 fully qualified nurses.

Dr Mark Porter, who chairs the BMA Council, said: “It makes no sense to spend this kind of money of staffing and structure when we already know there is a huge shortfall in capital funding needed to actually put the plans in place.”

Locally, tens of thousands of patients stand to be affected by the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

There are fears that Bedford hospital will lose services and patients will have to travel to Milton Keynes.

The first proposals were put out to consultation earlier this year and promptly described as a “mess” by Bedford mayor Dave Hodgson.

He said at the time: “What the STP have produced so far is an incredibly poor document. It leaves more questions than it provides answers.”

Meanwhile it is understood the BLMK STP team needs up to £6m more funding to continue with its review this year.

This is on top of the initial start-up cost of £1.2m last year.

It is one of 44 STP reviews nationally, and the wage bill alone for these is estimated to be a staggering £10m, says the BMA.

Outspoken Dr Porter said: “Millions of patients nationally will be affected by hospital and bed closures under these so-called ‘transformation plans’, which are a cover for delivering £26b in cuts to health and social care.”

Dr Porter also hit out at the amount STPs spend nationally on private consultancy firms and agency staff.

It is not known how much the BLMK team has spent on such services.

A spokesperson for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP): “We do not recognise the

figures quoted by the BMA and are seeking clarification on where those figures have come from.

“The STP is a collaboration of 16 partner organisations and each partner has dedicated time and resources, in the form of people, to the progression of

plans to transform health and social care in BLMK. The programme team have taken on their responsibilities for the STP as part of their current roles in

their respective organisations and, as such, their work is undertaken as part of their salaried positions in these organisations”