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Fat cats are on a treadmill that makes them fatter by Alice Weston

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Fat cats are on a treadmill that makes them fatter by
Article Posted: 10/02/2013
Article Views: 447
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Word Count: 1349
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Fat cats are on a treadmill that makes them fatter

Fat cats are on a treadmill that makes them fatter This year A&E Units in London are going to be facing up to a tough winter, worse than previous predictions. Units are already missing their four hour treatment target. Ministers have set up a bail-out fund for struggling hospitals to the tune of £550m but there is not enough money to guarantee all hospitals will receive this aid. A leaked report on the service has shown that at least 91% of patients who turn up to A&E are already waiting longer than four hours. This is just under the peak figure normally seen during the winter months (which is 95%, meaning that only 5% of all patients who turn up to A&E units in London during the winter months are actually getting treated within four hours of turning up.) This bail-out fund has been acknowledged as a short term solution to the problem and that a long term solution needs to be found if the system is to remain sustainable. One of the potential solutions would be for the NHS to invest more money in GP’s out of hour’s services. This would relieve the pressure on the A&E wards so they can focus on treating the sickest patients and make sure that those who require less urgent treatment still get seen. This doesn’t sound like a bad idea; after all they simply need to redistribute some funding and voila! A&E crisis sorted. Of course we all know that it’s not that simple, otherwise they would have done it by now. But you have to wonder why funding appears hard to come by… Managers working for the NHS are being paid between £300,000 and £570,000 per year. If you’re like me and you get dizzy looking at all those zeroes then all you need to know is that equates to the salary of at least 26 NHS nurses. I can’t imagine what these managers’ retirement funds of millions could buy. I am not decrying wealth; it can be a wonderful thing. If I could earn millions doing a job I loved then you can be certain that I would do so. But I’m really not sure I could work a job knowing that my work was somehow depriving others and, potentially, harming them. The NHS is a system that constantly struggles with financial constraints. Everyone else seems to have tightened their belt to the point of cracking a few vertebrae; everyone, that is, aside from these managers. I believe that everyone should be paid what they deserve for the job they do. I also believe that people should refrain from making a mockery of the system that pays them. You cannot on the one hand tell me that A&E units are going to struggle this winter due to a lack of funding and then tell me that there are mangers out there who are being paid £1,700 per day (that’s £345,000 per year in case you wanted to know.) They are being paid more in one day than most of us make in a month and then they tell us that we are the ones who are going to have to pay the price by potentially waiting in A&E for over four hours and hope we don’t die during our wait. Not to mention the fact that the NHS is paid for by us in the first place. I’m not entirely sure public money should be used by NHS manages as some sort of gravy train… and by that I mean ‘I’m pretty bloody certain that’s not what public money should be used for.’ The NHS managers seem to exude a sense of entitlement to the money they get. If nothing else I suppose this is the perfect situation to witness the hedonic treadmill in action. Never heard of the hedonic treadmill before? Wonder what the hell this has to do with NHS managers? Read on. Everyone on earth is in pursuit of happiness. One of the ways we obtain a sense of happiness is in the accumulation of material wealth. Essentially we feel good about ourselves when we buy stuff. We all have our pastimes. I myself am partial to books and DVD’s. These things consistently make me happy and I often treat myself on pay day, they are neither expensive nor detrimental to my health (not unless I leave them balanced precariously on a high shelf above my head.) The amount of happiness I feel over getting new book or DVD is known as my ‘hedonic set point.’ Now let’s imagine I get a pay rise and as a treat to myself I go out and buy myself a special edition DVD box set. This makes me extra happy for quite some time. Every month I realise I have extra money in the bank so I routinely start buying brand new hardback versions of books. Unfortunately this feeling does not last forever thanks to the hedonic treadmill. Eventually I will get accustomed to my new wage packet and suddenly my more expensive pay day treats will make me no happier than their cheaper counterparts did before my pay rise. The truth is that happiness does increase with wealth but not permanently. In the end we just get used to it and so we go in search of larger pay packets to experience the extra rush we got after our last pay rise. Recently it was revealed that Sir David Nicholson (head of NHS in England) claimed £14,000 in expenses over the first three months of this year. These expenses were for travel and dining… and you can be certain it won’t be a petrol stop and a butty at that price! NHS managers, Sir David included, doesn’t seem to think there is anything out of the ordinary with their salaries. Maybe they would change their minds if they had to spend 12 hours in a packed London A&E ward at the height of Christmas with no breaks on a nurse’s salary? I would like to think they would at least appreciate the money a little more. What emanates from Sir David however is a sense of entitlement, not only for the £14k worth of expenses over three months, but also for the £210k salary he receives as well as the £2m retirement package he is due to receive. He seems to feel this is all reasonable. The man is earning more than the Prime Minister and I don’t even know what he’s doing with public money! I don’t understand how £142,000 is good enough for the bloke who runs the country but this man needs considerably more (and then some.) What’s worse is that I don’t see any evidence of a job well done. The only thing I’ve heard about is the slating he received in the press for his shambolic handing of the Mid-Staffs scandal where several people died due to poor care. I’m not saying he has never done anything worthy in his career, I’m not saying he does not deserve to be paid appropriately, I’m saying the pay is clearly too high for the results we are getting. These enormous salaries are being paid out to the detriment of the NHS. Barts and the London NHS Trust lost 635 jobs in 2011, this included 10% of their nursing staff. Also the time any remaining staff were facing a freeze in their pay. Their Chief Executive on the other hand was being paid £262,000. The NHS was a service created to care for the nation’s health and wellbeing. The people who work for the NHS see their jobs as a vocation. That does not mean the system should take advantage of that fact by underpaying them and starving the system they work for of much needed cash. I wonder how many NHS managers would still do the jobs they have for half the pay. It would in many cases still be twice as much as most people earn in a year but think of all the GP surgeries we could fund with that extra money.

Related Articles - NHS, Fat Cats, Hedonic Treadmill, Sir David Nicholson, Medical Malpractice, Hospital Negligence,

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