NHS defends recruitment of £97,000-a-year brand head

 

NHS chiefs defended the recruitment of a £97,000-a-year “head of brand”, saying it was vital to ensure the health service ethos was not diluted by increased private sector involvement.

Chief executive Sir David Nicholson denied it was a "frivolous" waste of money at a time of cuts and a staff pay freeze and blamed the "rather unfortunate" job title for the controversy.

Labour MP Barbara Keeley told him it was the sort of thing that made the public "see red" as he faced questions from the Commons health select committee on efforts to make massive savings.

The NHS has been ordered to find £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2015 amid fears it will lead to widespread staff cuts and affect frontline services.

More than 30,000 NHS jobs are at risk, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned today.

An advert for a Leeds-based "Head of NHS Brand" post - with a salary range of £77,079 to £97,478 - was placed by the NHS Commissioning Board and has been filled from within the health service.

Sir David said the position was needed to make sure private providers "understand what it means to be part of the NHS...the culture and the values and treat their patients accordingly".

"It's really important to us and for patients to know that these organisations are signed up to these values and principles" when they use the NHS logo, he told the committee.

The spending should be seen in the context of significant reductions across the NHS of those types of function more generally, he said.

"The idea that we are frivolously spending more money on things than we did in the past is not right."

Health chiefs also faced a grilling over why the NHS has handed back around £3 billion to the Treasury over the past two years despite the massive cost pressures on the service.

Sir David said that the bulk of the underspend was on national capital schemes including IT and would probably have been wasted if it had been redirected to alternatives.

"My experience is that putting money in the system at short notice on a one-off basis invariably ends in the poor utilisation of that resource."

Asked if he would rather have kept the money within the service than being forced to hand it back to the Treasury, he added: "Clearly I would prefer to have more money to spend on the NHS."

Of £5.8 billion efficiencies identified in the first year of the programme, around £850 million was down to a two-year pay freeze and another £650 million to other pay-related changes, he said.

However around 90% of the savings were ongoing into future years, the MPs were told by NHS director general of finance, performance and operations Sir David Flory.

Sir David denied that NHS bodies were "rushing" into changing the terms and conditions of staff without consulting with trade unions.

But he said flexibilities were "there to be exploited" and that it was right that they should seek to "more creatively manage their pay bills".

PA

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
music
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

    vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

    Nursery Manager

    £100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

    Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

    £24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    £45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

    Day In a Page

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"