September 2 2014 Latest news:
Sara Odeen-Isbister, Senior Reporter
Saturday, April 13, 2013
A doctor was paid nearly £2,300 by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust (BHRUT) for working a single shift, it has been revealed.
The trust was among nine in the UK which spent more than £1,000 on shifts lasting between nine-and-a-half and 24 hours, in a list of the most expensive shifts in 2012.
The figure came to light following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by a national newspaper, which showed the huge amounts of money being spent by UK hospitals on agency staff.
The trust, which manages Queen’s Hospital, in Rom Valley Way and King George Hospital, in Goodmayes, is millions of pounds in debt.
BHRUT’s medical director, Dr Mike Gill, defended the £2,297 payment. He said: “In areas where it is particularly difficult to recruit consultants – such as in emergency care – we occasionally have to pay more than we would like to ensure that shifts are covered and patients are receiving the best possible care.”
But Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, called the figure “shockingly wasteful”.
She added: “So many hospitals are paying vast sums because there is no proper planning and management, so instead we see locums being brought in on a last minute, ad hoc basis, at huge expense and to the detriment of patient care.”