THE BLOG
20/09/2015 16:25 BST | Updated 20/09/2016 06:12 BST

Why Are NHS Suits Worth More Than Nurses?

The economic gulf between what we pay our vital frontline National Health Service staff and who I consider the far less vital administrators who sit supposedly "above" them never fails to amaze me.

We learned a week ago that three temporary NHS chiefs were paid salaries between £210,000 and £305,000 last year by a deeply-indebted hospital.

Colchester Hospital University NHS foundation trust in Essex has been criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over staffing levels, poor hand hygiene and poor record keeping including for "do not resuscitate" forms.

The hospital also reported a £22.3million deficit last year.

Yet the trust is paying interim chief executive Lucy Moore up to £290,000 a year, a salary she will remain on until leaving her post this December.

Interim chief operating officer Evelyn Barker was paid up to £305,000 before leaving in December 2014.

And human resources director Lynn Lane was on a pro rata rate of £154,000 for six months between May and October last year before the role became permanent - and the salary raised to £210,000 a year.

The trust defended the salaries saying they were the "going rate" and "in line with national guidance".

I would suggest that this is a scandalous amount of money being diverted away from actual health care and instead into the pockets of what are effectively pen pushers.

How can it be right that when Colchester Hospital is criticised over staffing levels and has a £22.3million deficit, nearly £800,000 has been spent in one year on the salaries of just three people - none of whom works on a ward?

An entry level student nurse starts on a little more than £21,000, so that same sum could have paid towards 35 more nurses to provide care for Colchester Hospital patients.

I for one am sick and tired of hearing about the "going rate" and "national guidance" for the ladies and gentlemen not in cheap-as-chips uniforms but expensively tailored suits, and I am certain I am not alone.

How and why are they valued more than frontline clinical staff?

Who on earth decides these "going rates'" in the first place? Because whoever they are need their heads examining.

It does no good for the NHS to complain about needing money when vast amounts of its budget go on sky-high wages for non-clinical staff.

If we are to keep our health service free at the point of access, which is what everybody wants, we urgently need to look at the ridiculous sums of money being diverted away from patient care and into the pockets of NHS bureaucrats.

Louise Bours is Ukip MEP for the North-West, the party's health spokesman, and a member of the Europe for Freedom and Direct Democracy group in the European Parliament.