UK : First class ban for NHS chiefs
UK : First class ban for NHS chiefs

UK : First class ban for NHS chiefs

Senior health officials have come under fire over their expenses claims after it emerged that a handful of managers had spent £200,000 in a year on taxis, hotels and dining out.

Nine board officials of NHS England spent £195,802 on travel, meals and hotels during 2013-14, the first year since the organisation was set up.

Tim Kelsey, the national director for patients and information, spent £46,000, including more than £21,000 on meals and hotels and nearly £7,000 on flights.

Sir David Nicholson, who recently stood down as chief executive of NHS England, spent £32,000, including £6,700 on taxis. A journey from London to Preston cost more than £500. The chief nursing officer, Jane Cummings, spent more than £27,000, including £8,000 on hotels and meals.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients’ Association, said: “It is an absolute disgrace when patients are waiting longer for care, when frontline staff are so overloaded, and when there are such difficulties in some parts of the service, to see this scale of excess at the top of the organisation. It truly beggars belief.”

Roger Goss, of Patient Concern, said: “It’s ludicrous for the organisers of the NHS to live a lavish lifestyle while trying to persuade the rest of the health service to save billions on providing care to patients. It really is an outrage that these sorts of sums have been diverted from the taxpayer, when they were intended for patient care.”

Simon Stevens, NHS England’s new chief executive, told the Telegraph that he had banned first-class travel, effective immediately, and told staff to use public transport, not taxis, wherever possible. He took a voluntary £20,000 pay cut when he took the post last month.

“NHS England has set new standards for openness and transparency in all of its operations, compared with what went before,” he said. “And I’ve set myself and our organisation the goal in everything we do of ‘thinking like a patient, and acting like a taxpayer’.”


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