Ritchie won’t be telling us about this, will he?

His report also found one hospital was losing £10,000 a month as a result of staff claiming too much annual holiday. By improving staffing, sickness and annual leave, this hospital could save up to £750,000 a year.

No, no, it’s the market that’s to blame for everything, not skiving angels….

11 thoughts on “Ritchie won’t be telling us about this, will he?”

  1. Jesus H Christ. That’s not even at the level of bad management as in, not getting the process right. A manager who can’t get the annual leave right needs to be fired.

    Of course, not being able to write figures into a spreadsheet is the fault of the Tories.

  2. I’m amused that a number of his commenters are citing the Scottish NHS, which hasn’t followed the market-based reforms, as a model to follow. It’s performance is well below that of England.

    Similarly, the Scottish education system is failing badly under the SNP administration. Again, it’s following the centralised command-and-control model.

  3. There’s some element of selection bias though. There are more women working in the public sector (including the NHS) and they’ll throw a sickie when their child is unwell.

  4. >they’ll throw a sickie when their child is unwell.
    That’s poor management reporting. I think there’s a statute specifically allowing time off to care for unwell children (presumably one’s own, as opposed to children in general).

    And wtf is “staff claiming too much annual holiday”? At £10k a month, that’s a lot of incorrect claimage. Does it really mean that they’re consistently over-claiming, month after month? Or is it management having to give out leave in lieu? Or management planning to browbeat staff into not claiming agreed holidays, then being knocked back?

    And the amount? There was a report on the tv yesterday about agency nursing staff earning £1800 per SHIFT. You wouldn’t need too many of them covering for unplanned vacation to get £10k (and I’ve heard similar amounts from other sources, so I know for a fact that £1.8k is representative).

  5. Martin Davies,

    “Staff taking advantage? Discipline them.”

    There’s the problem. Public sector disciplinary processes are like the labours of Hercules. According to a FOAF, that’s why agency nurses get brought in. Because if they’re taking the piss, you just fire them.

  6. Peter MacFarlane

    I have personal experience of this; these people (NHS Managers) are terminally incompetent. When someone leaves they don’t even advertise the post until after the person’s leaving date – sometimes not even then. But because front-line jobs do actually have to be done, if for no other reason than that the same numpties have cut the numbers way below minimum already, then the only possible outcome is that an agency person will appear…at several times the cost being “saved” by not advertising in time.

    “The envy of the world”, oh, yes.

  7. I know a nurse. From talking to her, I gather that working conditions and shitty management result in nurses not being willing to work for the NHS unless you pay them those sorts of wages.

    Annual leave, fair enough, that’s insane. Sick leave, though. The last thing you want in a hospital is a culture where staff feel they need to come in when they’re ill or they’ll get in trouble. Hospitals are full of people with compromised immune systems. Staff who are ill should be kept out. Maybe need a system of compulsory check-ups to stop that being abused.

  8. Peter McF,

    “at several times the cost being “saved” by not advertising in time.”

    but… what costs? The NHS is a near monopoly. They could run a job site of their own for a few grand a month. Just tell all the health people the URL. Sorted. Hell, I’ve worked with companies that supply a job board that you integrate into a website for less than $1000.

    And why are they paying any agency fees? They know every nurse out there. They’re on a register. They know which ones are employed, so just run a query of “nurses living within x miles of location that aren’t in work” and send out an email or SMS asking if they want some work.

    It’s like when there’s a crisis of schools places, when the government has data about births in hospitals, or registrations of births from registry offices. Seriously, no-one can tally up the “births this month” and feed them into a “school places we need in 4 years time. Fucking morons.

  9. Back in the day when I worked for the civil service staff pulled sick leave for minor bugs etc – there was a policy in the unit that if you were off sick you could not work overtime that week.

    That kind of thinking backfires when overtime helps the unit rather than the individual. After a few years overtime staff can get burned out and start woking under 60 hour weeks.

  10. My theory is that no public sector manager truly gets in trouble from its senior management for running out of money, because that can always be blamed on the Treasury for not giving it enough money in the first place. Particularly in a body like the NHS. What does get the public sector management in trouble is when they fuck up in a practical way ie grannies dying on trolleys in hospital corridors, Baby P style social work fuck-ups, that sort of thing.

    Thus the public sector will always throw money at problems, a) because there will always be more money found from somewhere, b) they won’t be held responsible for running out of money and c) they are shit scared of dropping the ball on their watch. If paying £1800 for an agency nurse to cover someone who is pulling an unwarranted sickie means that shift goes without obvious disaster, thats a good result from their perspective. And there’s no incentive to try and reduce the unwarranted sickie rate, because throwing money at the problem ‘solves’ it as far as they are concerned, and actually solving it would mean taking on the unions, which isn’t going to happen.

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