NHS accused over head-hunting fees

MILLIONS of pounds are believed to be being spent by the health service on hiring head-hunting firms to find senior managers.

One NHS area paid a total of pounds 120,000 to a company to recruit four executives. Oxford Regional Health Authority forked out pounds 30,000 to a firm called Korn Ferry to find its new pounds 80,000-a-year chief executive; Oxford District Health Authority spent pounds 60,000 to get its new chief executive and director of finance; and Oxford Family Health Services Authority paid pounds 30,000 for a replacement chief executive.

A senior manager working for the district health authority said: 'It's an absolute disgrace and there is a lot of embarrassment at the amount that has been spent. People are appalled that such vast sums can be wasted when there is so much pressure on services to the patient. How can anyone justify spending that sort of money?

'The worst thing about this particular case is that, for one of the posts, the company did little more than place an advert in newspapers and draw up a short list. One of the other successful candidates actually canvassed to try to get the job, so they hardly had to seek her out.'

The FHSA also paid pounds 50,000 over a five-month period to the Institute of Health Service Management for the services of a consultant who worked as stand-in chief executive two days a week. The FHSA chairman, Doreen Levy, refused to comment but its finance director, Nick Dollard, confirmed that Korn Ferry had been used.

A spokesman for Dr Peter Iredale, chairman of the district health authority, said he had no comment to make. The regional health authority said that using a head-hunting company ensured that the right candidate was found to run an RHA with a pounds 1bn- a-year budget, but its spokesman refused to confirm the cost of hiring Korn Ferry.

He added: 'We are talking about a key post and we have to be very careful that the right candidate is selected.'

The RHA has hired Korn Ferry to find a new chief executive and senior managers for Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, which is shortly to be run by a trust, and for the Wexham Park Hospital in Slough.

David Blunkett, Labour's health spokesman, said: 'Head- hunting is becoming an all-too- common alternative to normal recruitment procedures. Where this involves spending more than it costs to employ two nurses for a year, there is surely something seriously wrong with the NHS.

'We have tried to find out how much is spent in this area but the Government say they don't have the figures. But across the country it must be costing the NHS millions of pounds.'

Korn Ferry refused to confirm how much it had been paid by the health authorities. Anne Lawrence, its research director, said: 'We have been working in the NHS and public sector in Britain for a very long time.

'We were one of the first firms to develop head-hunting in this country and we work extensively for health authorities and hospitals.

'We pride ourselves in being in the know about who is available and suitable for our clients. Many of the people we choose for health authorities do not respond to adverts and probably have no plans to change job, so they wouldn't be studying the job adverts.

'We are a very large company with offices all over Europe, Britain, America and Latin America.'

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high