The number of hospital staff who are receiving private healthcare treatment paid for by the NHS has prompted accusations that the health service is paying for its staff to queue-jump and raised questions about its ability to provide adequate treatment.
Freedom of information requests sent out to all NHS trusts and hospitals in England reveal that over the past three years 3,337 employees were treated, at a cost to the taxpayer of £1,578,607. The figures – obtained by the Liberal Democrats – show the practice is becoming increasingly common.
In 2006-07, 708 staff received private treatment at a cost of £279,335. The following year, 988 staff received private treatment at a cost of £470,859. Last year, the number jumped to 1,641 staff at a cost of £828,413.
\”If the NHS thinks it necessary to pay for private treatment for its staff to jump waiting lists, then it raises serious questions about whether the current system is working as it should,\” said Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman.
Actually, this doesn\’t raise any serious questions at all.
There are 1.4 million people working in the NHS. 1,600 of them being treated privately is a rounding error.