BHRUT hospitals spending £157k a year on suspended workers
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 May 2015 | UPDATED: 07:45 13 May 2015
Health campaigners have blasted the NHS trust running King George and Queen's hospitals, after the Post revealed suspended members of staff have cost tax-payers more than £157,000 a year.
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) spent a total of £473,036 on suspended hospital employees between 2012 and 2014 – an annual average of £157,678.
Of that amount, £133,514 was paid to 18 workers who were subsequently dismissed after their suspension period.
Marie Kearns, contract manager of Barking and Dagenham Healthwatch, said: “It is clear from the data showing the amounts of money paid out to suspended staff, that in too many cases the time taken to investigate and conclude the case has been far too long.
“This is not good employment practice, as it is distressing for all concerned.
“Neither does it make financial sense as suspended members of staff have to be replaced, usually by more expensive agency staff.
“These avoidable expenses are an inexcusable drain on the public purse.”
Perhaps more worrying, according to the figures, revealed following a Freedom of Information request, hospital records are missing for three suspended employees, who received a suspension salary of almost £25,000 between them.
“That’s a disgrace,” said health campaigner Andy Walker, 53, from Seven Kings, who leads the Save King George Hospital campaign.
“The public are entitled to know why these people were suspended and what happened to them.
“For a big medical organisation not to have complete records, it’s really quite alarming.”
A total of 58 workers were suspended from work in the two-year period – with one employee earning £42,367 before receiving a first written warning.
Another colleague was paid £22,597 before eventually being sacked.
“We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of pounds. I’m sure that money could have been better spent on the wards,” added Mr Walker.
Deborah Tarrant, director of people and organisational development for BHRUT, said: “Our main priority is always our patients.
“When allegations have been made against an employee we have a duty of care to our patients to act to maintain quality, as well as a duty to our employees to maintain a safe working environment.
“Our disciplinary procedures are in line with national best practice – designed to keep our patients safe and ensure that staff are treated fairly.”